Purpose: This study was designed to evaluate pregnancy, delivery, and functional outcome in females before and after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis for chronic ulcerative colitis.
Methods: From a prospective database of 1,454 patients who underwent ileal pouch-anal anastomosis for chronic ulcerative colitis between 1981 and 1995, a standardized questionnaire was sent to all female patients aged 40 years or younger at the time of ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (n = 544).
Results: The response rate was 83 percent (450/544) with a mean follow-up after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis of 13 years. A total of 141 females were pregnant after the chronic ulcerative colitis diagnosis, but before ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (236 pregnancies; mean, 1.7) and 87 percent delivered vaginally. A mean of five (range, 1-16) years after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis, 135 females were pregnant (232 pregnancies; mean, 1.7). Comparison of pregnancy and delivery before and after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis in the same females (n = 37) showed no difference in birth weight, duration of labor, pregnancy/delivery complications, vaginal delivery rates (59 percent before vs. 54 percent after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis), and unplanned cesarean section (19 vs.14 percent). Planned cesareans occurred only after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis and were prompted by obstetrical concerns in only one of eight. Pouch function at first follow-up after delivery (mean, 7 months) was similar to pregravida function. After ileal pouch-anal anastomosis, daytime stool frequency was the same after delivery as pregravida (5.4 vs. 5.4, not significant) but was increased at the time of last follow-up (68 months after delivery; 5.4 vs. 6.4; P < 0.001). The rate of occasional fecal incontinence also was higher (20 percent after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis and 21 percent pregravida vs. 36 percent at last follow-up; P = 0.01). No difference in functional outcome was noted compared with females who were never pregnant after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (n = 307). Age and becoming pregnant did not affect the probability of pouch-related complications, such as stricture, pouchitis, and obstruction.
Conclusions: Successful pregnancy and vaginal delivery occur routinely in females with chronic ulcerative colitis before and after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis. The method of delivery should be dictated by obstetrical considerations. Pouch function and the incidence of complications in females with pregnancies seem largely unaffected long-term.