Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), also known as Hughes syndrome, is a rare condition in which the body produces antibodies that lead to an increased risk of blood clots, miscarriages and stillbirths. It is a form of autoimmunity, in which the body’s immune system develops antibodies to itself and causes damage in the process. As such, whilst it can occur as a standalone condition, many women will have other autoimmune conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Pregnancy is particularly high risk in APS. In addition to blood clots, miscarriages and stillbirths, there is also an increased risk of hypertension, pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction and placental abruption. Women often experience delays in diagnosis and may have experienced multiple pregnancy losses both pre- and post-diagnosis. It can be a very stressful experience so caring and knowledgeable staff are essential to support these women. Furthermore, treatment can be transformative and with the use of medications such as aspirin and/or heparin, 70-80% will have a successful pregnancy.

This module will help you to:

  • identify women who may need testing for APS
  • understand what treatment is required
  • support women with APS throughout their pregnancies

Study time: 20 minutes

Published: July 2022
Review date: 2025