It is recommended that women with systemic lupus erythematosus carefully time their pregnancies, but little is known about use of contraception and risk of unintended pregnancy in this population. The goal of this study was to estimate the proportion of women with lupus at risk for unintended pregnancy.
We surveyed 309 women with lupus, ages 18–50 years, seen at the University of Pittsburgh lupus center between January and May 2007.
Of the women surveyed, 212 (69%) completed the survey. In the past 3 months, 97 (46% of 212) had faced some risk of unintended pregnancy. Of these, 53 (55% of 97) reported ≥1 occasion on which they had unprotected sex and 22 (23% of 97) reported that in the last 3 months they had unprotected sex “most of the time.” No women reported having used emergency contraception after unprotected sex. A desire to “discuss birth control with a health care provider at the lupus center” was reported by 22 (10% of 212) respondents and 16 (17% of 94) women ≤35 years old.
Many women cared for by our lupus center are at risk of unintended pregnancy and are interested in discussing birth control with a health care provider.