Pregnant Women with IBD Need to Keep Symptoms under Control

Posted: Feb 24 in Surgery Blog tagged by Staff

Women afflicted with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), such as either be Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, are more likely that other women to have a miscarriage when they become pregnant, even though they have the same pregnancy rates as the general population.

Complications include low birth weight, pre-term birth and labor problems, even if the patient is in remission. Because of these potential risks, women with the affliction should be treated as high-risk cases, with care coordinated amongst a gastroenterologist, an obstetrician and a pediatrician to address concerns about breastfeeding. A 33% risk of a flare up during pregnancy is common, which is also the same rate as in the general population. Most women with the disease can deliver vaginally. Contraindications include active perianal Crohn’s Disease at the time of delivery or patients who have a J pouch and want to preserve sphincter function and prevent incontinence. Cesarean sections are recommended for these women.

IBD should be rendered as inactive as possible during pregnancy. Patients should contact their gastrointestinal doctor immediately upon learning of the pregnancy to discuss a course of action with which both doctor and patient are comfortable. Medications are generally continued during pregnancy as many are considered to be of low risk to the growing fetus, but it is important to discuss all medications for IBD with your obstetrician when you first become pregnant. Some medications are contraindicated during pregnancy as they are known to cause birth defects. It is important for newly pregnant women who have IBD to discuss the entire range of risks and benefits with their health care provider as soon as possible.

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