Renal crisis is a serious complication of systemic sclerosis. Its occurrence prior to the development of skin sclerosis is exceedingly rare. We report a patient who developed acute renal failure during pregnancy. Renal biopsy showed features compatible with scleroderma renal crisis but typical cutaneous changes were only evident 2 months after the renal episode. The relationship between pregnancy, scleroderma activity and renal crisis is discussed.