The Toronto Consensus Statements for the Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Pregnancy

Gastroenterology. 2016 Mar;150(3):734-757.e1. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2015.12.003. Epub 2015 Dec 11.


Background & aims: The management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) poses a particular challenge during pregnancy because the health of both the mother and the fetus must be considered.

Methods: A systematic literature search identified studies on the management of IBD during pregnancy. The quality of evidence and strength of recommendations were rated using the Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.

Results: Consensus was reached on 29 of the 30 recommendations considered. Preconception counseling and access to specialist care are paramount in optimizing disease management. In general, women on 5-ASA, thiopurine, or anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) monotherapy for maintenance should continue therapy throughout pregnancy. Discontinuation of anti-TNF therapy or switching from combination therapy to monotherapy may be considered in very select low-risk patients. Women who have a mild to moderate disease flare while on optimized 5-ASA or thiopurine therapy should be managed with systemic corticosteroid or anti-TNF therapy, and those with a corticosteroid-resistant flare should start anti-TNF therapy. Endoscopy or urgent surgery should not be delayed during pregnancy if indicated. Decisions regarding cesarean delivery should be based on obstetric considerations and not the diagnosis of IBD alone, with the exception of women with active perianal Crohn's disease. With the exception of methotrexate, the use of medications for IBD should not influence the decision to breast-feed and vice versa. Live vaccinations are not recommended within the first 6 months of life in the offspring of women who were on anti-TNF therapy during pregnancy.

Conclusions: Optimal management of IBD before and during pregnancy is essential to achieving favorable maternal and neonatal outcomes.

Keywords: 5-Aminosalicylate; Anti–Tumor Necrosis Factor; Breast-feeding; Corticosteroid; Crohn’s Disease; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Lactation; Postpartum; Pregnancy; Thiopurine; Ulcerative Colitis.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colitis, Ulcerative / diagnosis
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy*
  • Consensus
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease / therapy*
  • Drug Substitution
  • Female
  • Gastroenterology / standards*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Maternal Health Services / standards*
  • Preconception Care / standards
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents