Pregnant Women Have a Greater Risk of Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Happy middle aged pregnant woman at home looking outside the window with hope.  Mid black pregnant woman standing near window at home and thinking about her future family.  Smiling african american lady with hands on belly imagine the growth of her baby.Pregnancy is a time of great joy for many women, but it also comes with several health risks, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a term used for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It can result in chronic inflammation of the gut, leading to severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. While pregnant women are at an increased risk for IBD, there are steps they can take to mitigate the effects this condition can have on them and their unborn child. Read on to learn more.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) tends to affect women during their peak fertility period, so researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine set out to find the impact it may have on maternal and fetal outcomes.

Researchers reviewed more than 8 million pregnancies for the study between 2016 and 2018. There were a total of 14,129 women who had IBD. It was found that pregnant women with IBD had a higher incidence of gestational diabetes, hypertensive complications, postpartum hemorrhage, preterm delivery, fetal growth restriction, and fetal death. It was also noted that pregnant women with IBD also had longer hospital stays after delivering and averaged an additional half-day length of stay. They also faced more than $2,700 in associated medical costs.

“IBD is an incurable disease, and its relapsing and remitting nature is stressful for the estimated 3 million US men and women diagnosed,” said senior author Yezaz Ghouri, MD. “Because this disease tends to affect women during their peak fertility period, we wanted to know the impact of IBD on maternal and fetal outcomes. To our knowledge, this study is the most comprehensive of its kind, using data from multiple institutions in 48 states.”

While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between pregnancy and inflammatory bowel disease, this study helps to understand the disease’s effects during pregnancy. For those trying to get pregnant, health care experts recommend getting symptoms of IBD under control as much as possible beforehand through dietary and lifestyle changes.

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