Pregnancy and PKD: What to Watch For


Receiving a diagnosis of Polycystic Kidney Disease is a life-altering moment, and for women who are hoping to give birth is might feel as if all hope of bearing a child is gone. But PKD isn’t a death sentence or the harbinger of lost hope. There are many things you can do to ensure your ability to enjoy a healthy pregnancy while managing PKD. Participation in studies, donating your car to Kidney cars, and keeping up on recent PKD information and medical discoveries are all opportunities for you to be an active participant in improving the lives of those with PKD.

PKD Pregnancy Statistics

80% of PKD pregnancy cases run smoothly and problem-free. This 80% of women should consult their family doctor, their obstetrician and follow good pre-natal care and monitoring. But the other 20% can experience a life-threatening condition called pre-eclampsia.

Who is at risk?

This 20% is fairly easy to determine. If the woman with PKD suffers from these two conditions she is at higher risk for pregnancy complications:

  • High blood pressure
  • Reduced or impaired kidney function

These two conditions, paired with PKD can create the perfect situation for pre-eclampsia to develop. Over 40% of female PKD patients with high blood pressure develop pre-eclampsia during their pregnancy. These numbers don’t mean that a woman with PKD shouldn’t consider pregnancy if it is something she wants to try, but it means it is absolutely essential that she receive proper medical care and regular monitoring. Pre-eclampsia can develop without warning and can be life-threatening to both the mother and the child.

Can PKD Be Hereditary?

Another element to consider about pregnancy and PKD is that the possibility of developing PKD can be passed from parent to child. Just because a parent has PKD doesn’t necessarily that their offspring will develop it as well. If a potential parent is concerned about their chances of passing it on it is a good idea to speak to a genetic counselor. Genetic counselors can be found at many university medical centers in the United States and can help with understanding how the disease is passed along and what options are available to the parents.

If you or a loved one struggles with PKD and is considering starting or adding to your family, be sure to visit with your family doctor and take steps to maintain good health and medical care during the pregnancy. Happy parenting!