Sickle Cell Disease and Pregnancy

SCD and Pregnancy Fact Sheet

A woman with SCD is more likely to have problems during pregnancy that can affect her health and the health of the unborn baby than a woman without SCD. During pregnancy the disease can become more severe, and pain episodes can occur more often. A pregnant woman with SCD is at a higher risk of preterm labor, having a low birth weight baby or other complications. However, with early prenatal care and careful monitoring throughout pregnancy, a woman with SCD can have a healthy pregnancy.

SCD is recessive, which means that both parents must pass on the sickle cell gene for a child to be born with SCD. During pregnancy there is a test to find out if the baby will have SCD, SCT, or neither one. The test usually is done after the second month of pregnancy.

Women who have SCT also can have a healthy pregnancy. Women with SCD or SCT might want to see a genetic counselor for information about the disease and the chances that SCD or SCT will be passed to their baby.