Objective: To review the outcomes of pregnancies in women with cystic fibrosis (CF) and to address issues pertinent to the obstetric care of such women.
Data sources: English-language case reports and case series published from 1960 to 1991 identified through a search of MEDLINE and Index Medicus. The terms of reference were "cystic fibrosis" and "pregnancy". Not all the reports reviewed addressed all the outcomes under consideration.
Study selection: A total of 20 reports citing cases of pregnancy in women with CF.
Data extraction: Outcomes included the number of spontaneous abortions, pregnancies continued beyond 20 weeks, preterm deliveries, maternal deaths at 6 months and 2 years after delivery and perinatal deaths. Breast-feeding was addressed. Measures to assess the severity of maternal disease included the mean age at diagnosis of CF, weight gain during pregnancy, pulmonary function studies if available and the need for pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy.
Data synthesis: Of 217 pregnancies in 162 women spontaneous abortion occurred in 10 (4.6%). Pregnancy progressed beyond 20 weeks in 81.6% of cases; 24.3% of the deliveries were preterm. The maternal death rate did not exceed that among age-related women with CF who were not pregnant. The rate of perinatal death was 7.9%. Breast milk was not hypernatremic. Poor outcomes were associated with a weight gain of less than 4.5 kg and a forced vital capacity of less than 50% of the predicted value.
Conclusions: Premature labour and delivery remain a significant risk for pregnant women with CF, contributing to a high rate of perinatal death. Maternal illness and death result from deteriorating pulmonary function. Breast-feeding is not contraindicated. Attention to energy intake and pulmonary function is important.