Intensive dialysis and pregnancy

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Pregnancy in women with end stage renal disease on renal replacement therapy is uncommon due to the physiologic changes associated with renal failure as well as the complexities and risk involved in managing these patients. As most of these women had long periods of illness with chronic kidney disease, the effects of their chronic illness together with the current societal trends to delay child bearing to a more advanced maternal age can hamper fertility. For those able to conceive, intensified hemodialysis (HD), through longer and/or more frequent dialysis sessions, offers improved maternal and neonatal outcomes. Intensified HD is most conveniently offered in the patient's home, where possible. This review expands the scope of the Implementing Hemodialysis in the Home website and associated supplement published previously in Hemodialysis International and includes information tailored to women of reproductive age. We describe the necessary counseling that women should receive before conception and before intensification of HD, and provide a detailed management strategy that includes nephrologic and obstetric care, should pregnancy occur.

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