Inflammatory bowel disease in pregnancy

World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Jun 14;17(22):2696-701. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i22.2696.


Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis affect women in their child-bearing years. Family planning has come to be a common discussion between the gastroenterologist and the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patient. Disease control prior to desired conception and throughout pregnancy is the most important thing to keep in mind when caring for the IBD patient. Continued medical management during pregnancy is crucial in optimizing outcomes. Studies indicate that quiescent disease prior to conception infer the best pregnancy outcomes, similar to those in the general population. Active disease prior to and during pregnancy, can lead to complications such as pre-term labor, low birth weight, and small for gestational age infants. Although there are no definitive long term effects of pregnancy on IBD, there are some limited studies that suggest that it may alter the disease course. Understanding the literature and its limitations is important in the modern era of IBD care. Educating the patient and taking a team approach with the obstetrician will help achieve successful outcomes for mother and baby.

Keywords: Breastfeeding; Crohn’s disease; Inflammatory bowel disease; Pregnancy; Ulcerative colitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome