Crohn’s, Colitis Tied to Higher-Risk Pregnancies

Women who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should work with a doctor to get it into remission before pregnancy, a new study indicates.

Researchers found that women with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both types of inflammatory bowel disease, had a greater risk of pregnancy complications and poor maternal and fetal outcomes. The disease causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and typically occurs in young people.

“IBD is an incurable disease, and its relapsing and remitting nature is stressful for the estimated 3 million U.S. men and women diagnosed [with it],” said senior study author Dr. Yezaz Ghouri, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

“Because this disease tends to affect women during their peak fertility period, we wanted to know the impact of IBD on maternal and fetal outcomes,” he said in a university news release. “To our knowledge, this study is the most comprehensive of its kind, using data from multiple institutions in 48 states.”

Researchers reviewed more than 8 million pregnancies from 2016 to 2018, finding over 14,000 women with IBD. The research showed that pregnant women with IBD had higher numbers of gestational diabetes, postpartum hemorrhage, hypertensive complications, preterm delivery, fetal growth restriction and fetal death.

Patients with IBD also spent longer in the hospital after giving birth, by about a half-day, and had about $2,700 more in medical costs.

“Based on our findings, we suggest that women who have moderate to severe IBD should get pre-conception counseling and be treated aggressively to achieve remission prior to getting pregnant,” Ghouri said. “Our study results illustrate the importance that IBD be optimally controlled prior to conception.”

The findings were published recently in the International Journal of Colorectal Disease.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on inflammatory bowel disease.

SOURCE: University of Missouri, news release, Aug. 3, 2022