Understanding Antiphospholipid Syndrome

Antiphosopholipid syndrome (APS) is a rare autoimmune disorder. Normally, your immune system only attacks pathogens that invade your body, like bacteria and viruses. If you have APS, however, your body erroneously produces antibodies that attack the phospholipids (a type of fat) in your cells, causing blood clots and potentially life-threatening complications, including stroke. lo

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant or have miscarried more than once, our highly skilled and knowledgeable OB/GYNS at Columbia Fertility Associates may recommend testing for APS. If we diagnose you with APS, we offer reproductive immunology and other treatments in our offices in Washington, DC, Bethesda, Maryland, and Arlington, Virginia. 

Here’s what you need to know about APS.

APS doesn’t always cause symptoms

Many people with APS don’t know they have it. You may have already had a successful pregnancy and birth, without ever experiencing a symptom. 

Symptoms of APS include:

If your doctor recommends an APS test, a positive test for the antibodies doesn’t mean that you have the condition. Sometimes your body develops antiphospholipid antibodies in response to an infection or because you recently used antibiotics. You need to have two positive tests about 12 weeks apart to be diagnosed with APS.

You can get pregnant with APS

Although APS complicates conception and pregnancy, about 80% of women with APS get pregnant and carry a healthy child to term. About 60% won’t have any complications during their pregnancy either.

When APS interferes with your ability to get pregnant, or if you’ve already suffered miscarriages or premature births due to APS, your OB/GYN may recommend reproductive immunotherapy. You may benefit from blood-thinning medications, such as heparin, that reduce the risk of blood clots.

Pregnancies are “high risk” with APS

Once you’re pregnant, our doctors monitor you and your baby carefully for any complications. If you’re diagnosed with APS, all of your pregnancies are considered “high risk,” which means that they get more than the normal amount of attention and care. 

Monitoring a high-risk APS pregnancy includes regular visits where we:

Starting prenatal care as soon as possible and following up with all of your appointments helps you have a successful pregnancy and delivery. Because APS can be a life-threatening disease — both for you and your baby — be sure to get medical help if you have symptoms of clotting or a stroke, including:

If you’re having difficulty getting pregnant, have had miscarriages, or know that you have APS, contact our team at Columbia Fertility Associates to schedule a consultation. Phone the office nearest you or fill out our convenient online messaging form.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Tips for Navigating Your Winter Pregnancy

You’re pregnant! Congratulations! Just in time for the holidays, blustery weather, and a whole slew of other stressors. What’s the best way to keep yourself and your baby comfy and safe during the year’s most trying months? Here are a few tips.

How to Become an Egg Donor

Maybe you want to help an infertile couple create their family. Maybe you want to earn extra money. Maybe you want both. Either way, becoming an egg donor can be an emotionally and financially rewarding experience. Here’s how to do it.

Common Causes of a Miscarriage

If you suffer the loss of a pregnancy, you may secretly wonder if it’s “your fault.” Was it because you kept up with your daily run, or had sex, or did something “wrong”? Most of the time, miscarriage is beyond your control.

Fertility Care and COVID19: What You Should Know

You’re eager to start your family. With quarantines and shutdowns, you certainly have enough time on your hands. But is it safe to get fertility treatments when the coronavirus pandemic is raging? The answer depends on your unique situation.

Unpleasant Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

You feel tired all the time, but you can’t fall asleep at night. Your periods are heavy and painful, and you keep gaining weight. Now your doctor says you may be infertile. Could unbalanced hormones be at the root of your symptoms?

Infertility Testing from A to Z

When you discover you’re infertile, you want to know why. What tests do you need? Just a few or all of them? And will the test results give your doctor the information needed to help you get pregnant?