Kidney Disease and Pregnancy: Taking Care of You and Your Baby

Pregnant woman talking to her nephrologist

There are over 195 million women around the world affected by kidney disease. While kidney disease may significantly impact a woman’s life, that doesn’t mean it will take away her ability to have a baby. In fact, with the right kidney disease and pregnancy care plan, pregnancy is possible.

If you have kidney disease and are hoping to become pregnant, it’s important that you take extra care of yourself before, during, and after pregnancy. That means working closely with your kidney care team to make sure your kidney disease is well-managed and that you’re getting the best possible care. Learn more about kidney disease and pregnancy below.

What You Should Know about Kidney Disease and Pregnancy

Before preparing for pregnancy, it’s crucial you become aware of the potential risks kidney disease poses to both you and your child. Here are key things to know:

Before Pregnancy

Kidney disease can impact fertility. In some cases, kidney disease can make it more difficult to become pregnant. If you’re having trouble conceiving, talk to your kidney care team.

Kidney disease can make pregnancy more complicated. Women with kidney disease are more likely to experience complications during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, anemia, and preterm labor. That’s why it’s important to work closely with your kidney care team throughout your pregnancy.

During Pregnancy

There are a number of potential complications that can occur during pregnancy because of kidney disease. These include:

High Blood Pressure: Kidney disease can cause high blood pressure, which can be dangerous for both you and your baby. Your doctor will closely monitor your blood pressure during pregnancy and may prescribe medication to keep it under control.

Anemia: Anemia is a common complication of kidney disease. Anemia occurs when there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues. This can make you feel tired and weak. Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat anemia during pregnancy.

Fluid Retention: Kidney disease can cause fluid retention, which can lead to swelling (edema). Your doctor will closely monitor your fluid levels during pregnancy and may prescribe medication to help control them.

Proteinuria: Proteinuria is a condition in which excess protein leaks into the urine. Protein in the urine can be a sign of kidney damage. If you have proteinuria, your doctor will closely monitor your kidney function and may prescribe medication to help protect your kidney from further damage.

Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can occur during pregnancy. Women with kidney disease are at increased risk for gestational diabetes. Your doctor will monitor your blood sugar levels during pregnancy.

Managing Kidney Disease During Pregnancy

There are several things you can do to help manage kidney disease during pregnancy. These include:

  • Eating a Healthy Diet: Your doctor may recommend a special diet for kidney disease.
  • Exercising: Exercise can help control blood pressure and prevent or treat gestational diabetes. Make sure to talk to your doctor first to get specific exercise recommendations based on your individual health needs.
  • Taking Medication: Your doctor will prescribe the medication that is right for you so that you can control any complicated factors like high blood pressure or anemia.
  • Monitoring Your Kidney Function: Your doctor will closely monitor your kidney function during pregnancy. This may involve regular blood and urine tests.
  • Seeing Your Doctor Regularly: Your doctor will monitor your condition and the health of your baby and can provide you with the information and support you need to have a healthy pregnancy.

What to Expect During and after Delivery

There are some things to expect during and after delivery. These include:

Preterm Delivery

If you have kidney disease, there is an increased risk that your baby will be born early. Your doctor will closely monitor your pregnancy and may recommend special prenatal care.


Preterm delivery may require a c-section (cesarean delivery). Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of a c-section with you.

Low Birth Weight

If you have kidney disease, your baby may be born small. This is because kidney disease can cause restricted fetal growth. Your doctor will closely monitor your baby’s growth and development.

Manage Kidney Disease and Pregnancy with Texas Kidney Institute

At Texas Kidney Institute, we know how important family is. We also know the importance of managing kidney disease and pregnancy so that you can have a healthy pregnancy.

Our team of specialists is here to help you every step of the way. Schedule a consultation today to learn more about how we can help you manage kidney disease during pregnancy.