Navigating blood cancer during pregnancy presents unique challenges and requires careful management to ensure the health of both the mother and the unborn child. Here’s what to expect when dealing with blood cancer during pregnancy:

1. Impact of Blood Cancer on Pregnancy

  • Diagnosis Timing: Blood cancers diagnosed before pregnancy may require adjustments in treatment to minimize risks to the developing fetus.
  • Risks During Pregnancy: Depending on the type and stage of blood cancer, there can be risks of complications such as anemia, infections, bleeding disorders, and potential impact on fetal growth and development.

2. Treatment Considerations

  • Risk-Benefit Assessment: Treatment decisions are complex and require balancing the need to control cancer progression with potential risks to fetal development.
  • Timing of Treatment: Treatment may be delayed until after the first trimester to minimize potential harm to the developing fetus during critical organ development.
  • Types of Treatment: Depending on the specific blood cancer and stage, treatments such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or in some cases, surgery may be considered.

3. Maternal Health Monitoring

  • Regular Monitoring: Close monitoring of the mother’s health, including blood counts, disease progression, and potential complications, is essential throughout pregnancy.
  • Consultation with Specialists: Collaboration between oncologists, hematologists, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and other healthcare providers is crucial to develop a comprehensive care plan.

4. Fetal Monitoring

  • Ultrasound and Testing: Regular fetal ultrasounds and possibly other tests may be conducted to monitor fetal growth, development, and overall well-being.
  • Risk of Preterm Birth: Blood cancer and its treatments may increase the risk of preterm labor and delivery, requiring careful management and preparation.

5. Supportive Care and Management

  • Symptom Management: Management of symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and pain is important to support the mother’s comfort and well-being during pregnancy.
  • Psychological Support: Coping with the emotional challenges of managing a blood cancer diagnosis during pregnancy requires support from healthcare providers, family, and friends.

6. Postpartum Considerations

  • Resuming Treatment: After delivery, treatment plans may need to be adjusted or resumed based on the mother’s health status and the specific requirements of her blood cancer treatment.
  • Breastfeeding: Depending on the treatment received, breastfeeding may not be possible or advisable due to potential risks of medication transfer to the infant.

7. Family Planning and Counseling

  • Fertility Preservation: Discussions about fertility preservation options before starting treatment are crucial for women who may wish to conceive in the future.
  • Genetic Counseling: Some blood cancers may have genetic predispositions, and genetic counseling may be beneficial for future family planning decisions.


Managing blood cancer during pregnancy requires a multidisciplinary approach to balance the health needs of both the mother and the fetus. Each case is unique, and decisions regarding treatment, monitoring, and supportive care should be personalized based on the specific type and stage of blood cancer, as well as the individual’s health status and pregnancy considerations. Open communication between healthcare providers and the patient is essential to ensure informed decision-making and optimal outcomes for both mother and child.


By Sue