Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Pregnancy

IBD can occur at any age and half of all sufferers are females between the ages of 15 and 40. Many are looking to become pregnant but are unsure if there are risks, or they worry how their pregnancy might be impacted by the condition.

While Inflammatory Bowel Disease conditions can be debilitating, can they impact pregnancy? Here, you will discover everything you need to know.

Can IBD cause issues with fertility?

According to research, both men and women who have IBD but haven’t had surgery, have the same fertility chances as everyone else. However, there are some instances when you may have reduced fertility.

If you have undergone surgery for ulcerative colitis, or if you have active Crohn’s disease, your fertility may be lower. If you are experiencing fertility issues due to IBD, the good news is there are treatments out there which can help.

The medications prescribed to treat these conditions mostly don’t impact fertility at all. There are some exceptions here however. For example, methotrexate and sulphasalazine are considered best avoided for those who are trying to get pregnant.

How might the conditions impact pregnancy?

If you do become pregnant, you will most likely have a normal pregnancy. However, research has shown that Crohn’s disease and colitis can increase the risk of premature birth and miscarriage.

The state of the condition and how active it is will depend upon the effects it has during pregnancy. You can discuss the risks with your healthcare practitioner or an IBD specialist. You will be given frequent checks throughout the pregnancy to ensure everything is progressing as it should.

The importance of keeping IBD under control during pregnancy

When you discover you are pregnant, it is important to try and get your IBD under control. When the disease is inactive or in remission, you will be in generally good health. However, if the disease is active, it means you will keep experiencing regular flare ups and troublesome symptoms.

Studies have shown that those who have colitis or Crohn’s disease but are in remission, are unlikely to experience issues throughout the pregnancy. If the conditions are in control when you get pregnant, it is much more likely to remain inactive throughout.

Will pregnancy worsen IBD?

If your IBD is mildly active when you become pregnant, the pregnancy is unlikely to make it worse. However, it does mean that the disease will be more likely to remain active throughout the pregnancy.

As of yet, there isn’t enough research to determine whether pregnancy worsens IBD. In fact, from the research carried out there is some evidence to suggest it may have a positive effect.

There are lots of ways to manage IBD during pregnancy. It is a good idea to talk to your IBD team to discuss the options available. Always follow the advice of professionals to ensure your pregnancy runs as smoothly as possible.

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