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Even if inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a part of your life, it's possible to conceive, carry, and deliver babies normally. Here's what you need to know about IBD, pregnancy, and how doctors can help.
Visit www.IBDParenthoodProject.org for the medical facts about IBD and pregnancy.
About 800,000 women in the U.S. have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
5 questions to ask your doctor before getting pregnant
1. Can I get pregnant if I have IBD?
Generally, IBD doesn't affect a woman's fertility. However, having active IBD and having had certain kinds of surgery can reduce your chances of getting pregnant.
2. Can I take my IBD medication while I'm pregnant?
In most cases, yes! For example, biologics are considered low risk. However, thalidomide and methotrexate should be avoided several months before trying to conceive. Corticosteroids may be tapered off prior to conception, and certain antibiotics should be avoided. Talk with your doctor before stopping or starting any medication.
3. Can a pregnancy trigger a flare or make my IBD worse?
Flares are a known risk during pregnancy. You may be able to reduce your risk by staying on appropriate medication. In some cases, IBD improves during pregnancy, and you may even go into remission. That's because during pregnancy the body suppresses the immune system to allow the healthy development of the baby.
4. Can IBD harm or affect the health of my baby?
Pregnant women with IBD are considered "high risk" and may require additional care. They're more likely to have preterm labor or infants with low birth rates. But there is no increased risk for birth defects or developmental delays. With proper planning and care, women with IBD can have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies!
5. Will my child inherit IBD from me?
Up to 3% of children will develop the disease if one parent has IBD. If both parents have IBD, a child's risk may be as high as 30%. Before you start trying to conceive, ask your gastroenterologist about your risk.
Get medical facts and reassuring advice from the AGA's IBD Parenthood Project: IBDParenthoodProject.org
This content was paid for by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), through support from UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company.