Porphyria may or may not be a problem for a woman with the disease who wants to become pregnant. Some women may not know that they have disease until they become pregnant.


Hormonal triggers for porphyria include:

(1) early pregnancy

(2) in the puerperium

(3) taking oral contraceptives


If a woman does have porphyria then she should receive genetic counseling about the risk to any offspring specific to the type of porphyria that she has inherited.


Low risk pregnancy:

(1) no history of acute attack

(2) normal porphyrin excretion

(3) free of symptoms for at least 18 months


High risk pregnancy:

(1) severe disease with frequent or severe acute attacks

(2) frequent vomiting with dehydration



(1) Treat nausea and vomiting aggressively.

(2) Avoid medications that may trigger an attack.

(3) Start a dextrose infusion to provide carbohydrate load for prolonged fasting or dehydration.

(4) Treat an acute attack as usual except avoid a hematin infusion unless necessary.


A woman with porphyria who wants to avoid pregnancy should use a method other than oral contraceptives since these can trigger an attack.


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.