Inflammatory bowel disease affects women in their peak reproductive years. Patients and physicians often have questions regarding the effect of inflammatory bowel disease on a woman's ability to conceive and to carry a pregnancy safely to term as well as the effect of inflammatory bowel disease and the medications used to treat it on pregnancy outcomes. Women with inflammatory bowel disease have the same rates of fertility as women without inflammatory bowel disease unless they have had prior surgery in the pelvis or active disease. However, women with inflammatory bowel disease do have higher rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes. A multidisciplinary approach involving gastroenterologists, obstetricians, and maternal-fetal medicine physicians should focus on preconception planning and disease optimization before pregnancy. Women with inflammatory bowel disease should be followed as high-risk obstetric patients. Most medications used to treat inflammatory bowel disease can be continued safely during pregnancy and lactation. The greatest risk to the pregnancy is active disease, which can be precipitated by discontinuation of effective maintenance medications. Preconception counseling should include education regarding the low risk of most inflammatory bowel disease medications during pregnancy and lactation and the high risk of a significant disease flare during pregnancy. This review outlines important considerations for obstetricians caring for women with inflammatory bowel disease before and during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology