Pregnancy and scleroderma.
Scleroderma is a rare disease with a marked female excess in incidence. The pattern of age of onset, together with the effects of the disease, are such that the majority of women with scleroderma experience pregnancy prior to diagnosis. There are three questions of interest: (1) Does pregnancy adversely affect the prognosis of scleroderma? Isolated case reports suggest that renal disease, and in particular hypertensive crises, are associated with pregnancy in the absence of any renal abnormality before pregnancy. However, such events are rare. (2) Does scleroderma adversely affect either fertility or the outcome of pregnancy? Women with established scleroderma, again in case series, have a high rate of spontaneous miscarriage which is not found consistently in epidemiological studies. Prematurity and low birth rates are more frequent problems. (3) Does reproductive history influence disease and particularly Raynaud's phenomenon may antedate diagnosis by many years and might influence reproductive outcome, in general reproductive outcome is similar to that seen after diagnosis, although fertility appears to be reduced.