Diaverum supports World Kidney Day by raising awareness about the effects of dialysis on pregnancy

Posted March 8, 2018

Today is international World Kidney Day, a theme day aimed at raising awareness about kidney disease. This year’s global theme is Kidney Disease and women’s health. As part of this theme, Diaverum wants to raise awareness about the effects of dialysis on pregnancy — a subject that is tightly linked to women’s health.

Having a child and starting a family is something many women wish for. Most women on dialysis have passed their childbearing years but for younger women, this may be a subject that raises many questions and concerns. Women on dialysis who want to get pregnant are faced with many challenges. Conception rates are very low ranging from 0.3-1.5% per year, although higher rates are reported in recent years. A pregnancy is also associated with many risks, both for the mother and for the child. Some of the most common risks involved, apart from the risk of miscarriage, are preterm delivery and low birth weight for the baby and increased blood pressure and preeclampsia for the mother. Due to the high risks, pregnancy is generally not recommended for women on dialysis and many women who are candidates for a kidney transplant decide to wait with a pregnancy until after they have received a transplant. After a kidney transplant the fertility rate normally goes up and chances of a successful pregnancy is increased.


What can be done to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy?

For some women, waiting for a transplant is not an option. Women who want to get pregnant while on dialysis should always discuss this with their doctor. The doctor will be able to discuss their individual situation and draw up a treatment plan. There are important steps to take to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Medications that are harmful to the development of the foetus need to be replaced as early as possible and the number of dialysis sessions is normally increased to five or six per week. It is important that women are aware of the risks and are determined to work closely with their healthcare team during the whole process. The healthcare team will consist of a doctor, nurses, an obstetrician who is specialised in high-risk pregnancies and a dietitian. The health of the baby and the mother will be monitored closely during the whole process to discover any problems early on.


Miracles do happen

Every new baby is a miracle. This is even more true for babies whose mothers are on dialysis. Even though there are many challenges and risks involved, knowledge within the area is increasing and treatment methods are improving. This has led to an increase in the number of pregnancies with successful outcomes over time. Diaverum in Saudi Arabia with 35 dialysis clinics saw seven successful births in 2017. 

Read about Jawaher, one of the mothers who had a baby last year: 

A story about an extra special baby