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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Polycystic kidney disease


* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • PKD
  • Polycystic kidneys
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Your Question

What complications, if any, could happen if a person with polycystic kidney disease becomes pregnant? What are the risks to the mother and the baby?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Are there any risks associated with having polycystic kidney disease (PKD) during pregnancy?

About 80 percent of women with polycystic kidney disease have successful and uneventful pregnancies. However, some women with PKD have an increased risk for serious complications for themselves and their babies. Women at risk are those who have high blood pressure and decreased kidney function.[1] High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause low birth weight or premature delivery of the baby.[2] About 40% of women who have PKD with high blood pressure develop pre-eclampsia (or toxemia) during their pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia is a life-threatening disorder for both the mother and baby, and it can develop suddenly and without warning.[1]
Last updated: 3/31/2011

What kind of healthcare professional might someone with polycystic kidney disease see during their pregnancy?

Pregnant women with PKD may benefit from consulting with a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist, which is a type of doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies. MFMs take care of pregnant women who have special medical problems (such as kidney disease), are at risk for pregnancy-related complications (such as preterm labor or pre-eclampsia), or have fetuses at risk of health problems. To find an MFM, we recommend that you contact your primary healthcare provider for a referral.

The Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) has a MFM Physician Locator, which can help you find an MFM in your community.
Last updated: 3/31/2011

How can I find a genetics professional in my area?

Genetics clinics are a source of information for individuals and families regarding genetic conditions, treatment, inheritance, and genetic risks to other family members. More information about genetic consultations is available from Genetics Home Reference. To find a genetics clinic, we recommend that you contact your primary healthcare provider for a referral.

The following online resources can help you find a genetics professional in your community:
Last updated: 10/18/2013