Objective: To assess pregnancy outcome in relation to disease activity and maintenance therapy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent to every woman of child-bearing age followed for inflammatory bowel disease in three referral centers (Rothschild, Saint-Lazare, Saint-Louis). Response rate was 65%.
Results: One hundred and forty-four pregnancies (153 fetuses) in 138 women (122 had Crohn's disease) were reported. Outcome of pregnancy was normal (baby > 2500 g, without malformation) in 115 cases (77%). There were 17 cases of preterm birth (11.5%), 3 cases of hypotrophy, and 14 pregnancy losses (9 miscarriages (6%), 4 therapeutic abortions for major malformation (2.8%)). Percentages of normal pregnancy outcome were not different between patients who continued maintenance therapy and those who stopped: respective percentages were 75 vs 73% in patients receiving mesalamine or olsalazine (n = 30), and 60 vs 75% in patients receiving azathioprine (n = 22).
Conclusion: In a selected series of women with inflammatory bowel disease, pregnancy outcome is approaching that observed in a normal population, except for an elevated rate of preterm births. There is no need to stop maintenance therapy with 5-aminosalicylates or azathioprine during pregnancy.