Pregnancy in women with kidney disease

Making the decision to start a family can be a joyous and exciting time. But for women with chronic kidney disease, the decision can be complicated and risky.

“Can I have a baby? Should I have a baby? And what risk does pregnancy pose to my baby, my kidneys and my health?”

The answers to these questions can be difficult to find, and in some cases are provided too late, putting both mother and baby at risk of complications such as preterm birth, high blood pressure, and the deterioration of kidney function. Dr Nishanta Tangirala (pictured above right with Professor Helen Siobhan Marshall AM) is a Consultant Nephrologist, Obstetric Medicine Fellow, and WCH Foundation Masters by Research scholarship recipient working with the Pregnancy Kidney Research Australia group. She hopes to answer these important questions so that clinicians can better support mothers and their families when making this life-changing decision.

The lack of research in this space means there is little guidance for clinicians caring for women with chronic kidney disease who are planning pregnancy. Dr Tangirala’s project will look at the decision-making process for mothers and clinicians embarking on this journey, with a particular focus on the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, who are more likely to live with chronic kidney disease. She will also investigate decision-making aids for women with chronic kidney disease embarking on their pregnancy journey, and the best timing and type of delivery in women with kidney transplants.

Dr Tangirala says, “Ultimately, my research will improve the evidence base for pre-pregnancy counselling and management, informing new policies and models of care for safer pregnancy planning and parenthood in this population.”

The generous support of the WCH Foundation community means that women with chronic kidney disease, alongside their families and clinicians, will be empowered to make evidence-informed decisions about the best and safest way to achieve motherhood.


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