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Many women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) worry that they won't be able to get pregnant or to deliver a healthy baby. If you're among them, ease your fears with this myth-busting look at pregnancy and IBD.
Visit www.IBDParenthoodProject.org for the medical facts about IBD and pregnancy.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of disorders that includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. About 800,000 women in the U.S. have IBD.
5 things to know about IBD and pregnancy
In a study of women with IBD, 70% of those trying to conceive worry about having difficulty getting pregnant.*
Among women whose disease is in remission and who haven't undergone certain surgeries for IBD, fertility rates are equal to those of the general population.
Pregnant women with IBD are considered "high risk" and may require additional care. They're more likely to have preterm labor and other labor and delivery complications. With proper planning and care, women with IBD can have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
In a study of women with IBD, 78% worry about continuing to take their IBD medication while pregnant.* In most cases, IBD medication is safe to use during pregnancy. For example, biologics are considered low risk. Before you start trying to conceive, talk with your doctor about which medications are safe.
Special attention to nutrition may be needed during pregnancy. Some IBD medications interfere with the absorption of folic acid, which can prevent spina bifida and other birth defects. If you are taking these medications, you may be advised to take extra folic acid supplements. Your doctor may also wish to check iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D levels.
There is evidence that breastfeeding for at least 3 to 6 months can decrease a baby's likelihood of developing IBD.
Get medical facts and reassuring advice from the AGA's IBD Parenthood Project:
*According to a 2018 study of 286 women with IBD, conducted by our site and the American Gastroenterological Association.
This content was paid for by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), through support from UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company.