MotherToBaby Launches First Lupus in Pregnancy Research Study

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World-Renowned UC San Diego Epidemiologist Leads Groundbreaking Study

"Lupus can raise the risk of pregnancy complications, so it’s important for both the mom and her developing baby that this condition be well-managed during pregnancy." - Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH

Recruitment is underway for a groundbreaking new study on the treatment of lupus during pregnancy. The observational research, led by world-renowned UC San Diego epidemiologist Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, is the first of its kind for the non-profit MotherToBaby, a CDC-recommended organization that provides evidence-based information on medications, diseases, vaccines, herbal supplements and more during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The study will recruit 400 pregnant people over a five-year period to evaluate use of the lupus drug Benlysta® (belimumab) in pregnancy. Benlysta® is used to treat the most common type of lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), as well as lupus nephritis. Currently, there is limited information on the drug’s use in pregnancy.

The study will be MotherToBaby’s first to focus on a treatment specifically for lupus, and participants will be enrolled into the MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies research program. Chambers, who is the lead investigator for MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies, Co-Director of the Center for Better Beginnings, and Chief of the Environmental Science and Health Division in the UC San Diego Department of Pediatrics, noted that, “lupus can raise the risk of pregnancy complications, so it’s important for both the mom and her developing baby that this condition be well-managed during pregnancy. So, when treatments for lupus like belimumab are available, we want to do our best to gather information about those pregnancies where this medication has been used.”

The study is enrolling pregnant and recently pregnant people with exposure to Benlysta® and will provide critical information on the use of this medication during pregnancy. Participants will not be asked to change any part of their health care routine, including medications, nor will they be asked to travel.

More about MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies

MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies are conducted by the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) and coordinated at the Center for Better Beginnings at UC San Diego. OTIS is a professional scientific society made up of individuals engaged in assessing and evaluating risks to pregnancy and breastfeeding from environmental exposures. Members include, but are not limited to, specialists in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, genetics, dysmorphology, perinatal epidemiology, teratology, behavioral teratology, pharmacy, genetic counseling, nursing, midwifery, maternal and child health, public health, and include experts that provide MotherToBaby services and researchers that conduct MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies.

MotherToBaby is a suggested resource by many federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). MotherToBaby is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $6,000,000 with zero percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents of this release are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. To learn more about MotherToBaby and OTIS, please visit

Media Contact: Nicole Chavez,, 619-368-3259

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