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Comprehensive Guide : Pregnancy & Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD)

Navigating Pregnancy with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease: Risks, Management, and Outcomes

Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) is a rare autoimmune disorder that combines symptoms of lupus, scleroderma, and polymyositis. Navigating a pregnancy with MCTD requires meticulous planning, consistent medical supervision, and holistic self-care. This article explores the intricacies of managing MCTD during pregnancy, potential risks, and the expected outcomes. 

Understanding Mixed Connective Tissue Disease

Before delving into the specifics of pregnancy, it’s crucial to understand Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD). The disease is characterized by the body producing antibodies against its own cells, leading to inflammation and damage in various body tissues. Common symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, swelling, and skin abnormalities. 

Risks Associated with Pregnancy in Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) 

  1. Flare-ups: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to disease flare-ups, causing increased pain, fatigue, and other symptoms.
  2. Preeclampsia: MCTD increases the risk of preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and potential organ damage, especially to the liver and kidneys.
  3. Fetal Complications: Babies born to mothers with MCTD may face challenges like intrauterine growth restriction, premature birth, or neonatal lupus.
  4. Blood Clotting Issues: The risk of blood clots might increase, leading to potential complications like deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.
  5. Heart and Lung Issues: As MCTD can affect the heart and lungs, pregnancy, which naturally strains these organs, can exacerbate existing conditions.

Management Strategies for Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) 

  1. Pre-pregnancy Counseling: Before conceiving, discuss with your rheumatologist and obstetrician. Understand potential risks and get your disease under optimal control.
  2. Medication Review: Some MCTD medications might be harmful during pregnancy. Review and adjust them under medical supervision.
  3. Regular Monitoring: Regular appointments with a high-risk obstetrician and a rheumatologist are essential. Monitoring will track the disease’s activity, fetal growth, and overall health.
  4. Optimal Nutrition: A balanced diet supports both maternal health and fetal development. Supplements like folic acid can be beneficial.
  5. Physical Activity: Gentle exercises like prenatal yoga or walking can enhance circulation, reduce stress, and improve joint health.
  6. Stress Reduction: Stress can exacerbate MCTD symptoms. Techniques like meditation, deep-breathing exercises, and guided imagery can be valuable. 

Outcomes to Expect

  1. Active Management Reduces Risks: With proactive management, many women with MCTD have successful pregnancies and healthy babies.
  2. Postpartum Flares: After delivery, there’s a potential for disease flare-ups. Close monitoring and prompt management can keep these in check.
  3. Breastfeeding Considerations: While breastfeeding is beneficial, discuss with your doctor. Some MCTD medications might not be compatible with breastfeeding.
  4. Emotional Well-being: Hormonal fluctuations, coupled with the challenges of MCTD, can strain emotional well-being. Postpartum depression or anxiety might be more prevalent. Seeking counseling or joining support groups can help.


Pregnancy with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease is a journey that demands extra care and attention. While there are inherent challenges, a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach ensures the best possible outcomes for both mother and baby. Emphasizing regular medical care, a healthy lifestyle, and emotional support can make this journey a fulfilling one. Always remember: while MCTD is a part of your story, it doesn’t define the entirety of your motherhood experience.


  1. American College of Rheumatology. (2019). Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. Retrieved from ACR website
  2. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. (2020). Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. Retrieved from NIAMS website
  3. Mixed Connective Tissue Disease Foundation. (2021). Pregnancy and MCTD. Retrieved from MCTD Foundation website
  4. Radin M, Schreiber K, Cuadrado MJ, Cecchi I, Andreoli L, Franceschini F, Caleiro T, Andrade D, Gibbone E, Khamashta M, Buyon J, Izmirly P, Aguirre MA, Benedetto C, Roccatello D, Marozio L, Sciascia S. Pregnancy outcomes in mixed connective tissue disease: a multicentre study. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2019 Nov 1;58(11):2000-2008. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kez141. PMID: 31079145.
  5. https://www.gynaecologyjournal.com/articles/567/4-2-65-379.pdf
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 27, 2023

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