Rationale: Studies of pregnancy in cystic fibrosis (CF) have shown no short-term harmful effects, but there are no long-term studies on the impact of motherhood.
Objectives: This study sought to evaluate longer-term physiologic and functional outcomes in women with CF reporting a pregnancy, with the intent of assessing how the demands of parenting impacted on disease course.
Methods: Using 1994 to 2005 Epidemiologic Study of Cystic Fibrosis data, we developed a propensity score to match women reporting a pregnancy at a 1:10 ratio with never-pregnant control subjects and compared clinical outcomes, health-related quality of life, and health care use.
Measurements and main results: One hundred nineteen pregnant women presumed to have become mothers were matched with 1,190 control subjects, a median of 6.0 years (range 1.8-11.1 yr) from the pregnancy. No differences were found in annualized change from baseline FEV1 and body mass index, in respiratory signs and symptoms, or in prescribed chronic therapies. Women who had been pregnant were treated for more pulmonary exacerbations and had more illness-related clinic visits but showed no increase in prescribed chronic therapies. They also reported lower health-related quality-of-life scores for Respiratory Symptoms, Physical Functioning, Vitality, and Health Perceptions.
Conclusions: Pregnancy and motherhood do not appear to accelerate disease progression but lead to more illness-related visits, pulmonary exacerbations, and a decrease in some domains of quality of life. These differences presumably reflect the impact of the physical and emotional challenges of early motherhood on disease self-management.