The majority of women who develop IBD are usually in their reproductive years. IBD during pregnancy can still be successfully managed with the proper treatment.
Most women who have inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) during pregnancy have healthy babies. However, it is important to the health of mothers and their babies to have close management of the disease before considering becoming pregnant. If a woman who has inflammatory bowel disease is not having symptoms (is in remission) when she becomes pregnant, she will do well in most cases. Sometimes the disease becomes more active during the pregnancy, and therapy is usually recommended.
Women with IBD may have slightly higher rates of pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, preterm delivery, low birth weight and small for gestational age babies. In addition, surgery for IBD usually has implications on one’s ability to conceive a baby.
X-ray tests and imaging of the entire large intestine (colonoscopy) are usually avoided during pregnancy to prevent harming the fetus.
In most cases, active inflammatory bowel disease can be worse for the fetus than the medicines used to control symptoms. Generally, we recommend continuing most medications during pregnancy. However; we ask that you discuss medication use with your doctor, preferably before you get pregnant, and prior to adding or stopping medication. Ask your doctor which medicines are safe for you to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Your doctor will look at your symptoms and your pregnancy and will be able to determine the risks of medicine for you.
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Any pregnant patient with IBD should consult with an IBD specialist, as well as their obstetrician to determine the safest and most effective form of treatment.
For more information on IBD during pregnancy or to schedule an appointment with an IBD physician, please call 847.570.2903.