Objective: To study the consequences of pregnancy on women affected by cystic fibrosis and to clarify the impact of the disease on maternal and newborn health.
Design: Retrospective study.
Setting: Pregnancy survey from the French Cystic Fibrosis Registry.
Population: Women with cystic fibrosis having a pregnancy between 1980 and 1999.
Methods: During the 1980-1999 period, 90 pregnancies in 80 French female patients were registered in the pregnancy survey of the French Cystic Fibrosis Registry. General and clinical data before pregnancy were noted. Outcome of the pregnancy was described. Variations of pulmonary function and body weight during pregnancy were evaluated. Comparison between a group of pregnant women and a group of non-pregnant cystic fibrotic women of same age and genotype, followed in the same care centre network, was made.
Main outcome measures: Spirometric and nutritional parameters, vital status and perinatal health indicators.
Results: The outcome was identified for 75 cases: 64 delivered babies (45 at term and 10 prematurely, prematurity rate: 18%), 10 abortions (five spontaneous and five therapeutic or medical), and one maternal death during pregnancy. The proportion of newborns with low weight was 29.8%. Mean maternal weight gain during pregnancy was 5.5 kg. Four affected children were diagnosed after birth. A decline in the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity was observed between the beginning of pregnancy and the year following the delivery. However, no significant difference was found when comparing the variation in the pulmonary function during pregnancy between cases and controls. Moreover, the pulmonary status before pregnancy was better than the status of non-pregnant women. Among 12 deaths recorded after pregnancy, only three happened in the year following the pregnancy. All three women had an FEV1 < 50% before pregnancy.
Conclusion: Pregnancy only has a slight adverse effect on maternal health if the women are in good general condition before starting pregnancy. Women with a better health status are more inclined to initiate and successfully complete a pregnancy. Complete collaboration between cystic fibrosis practitioners and obstetricians should be observed to allow women to deliver children in the best conditions.