Roughly half of the nearly 1.6 million people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are women of reproductive age. Caring for women with IBD who are also pregnant can be challenging, particularly if with a disease flare or in remission, as there are special considerations needed.
Despite older studies concluding potential risks associated with IBD medical therapies, more recent literature reports healthier maternal and birth outcomes associated with disease control and reduction in the inflammatory burden. Most IBD therapies should generally be continued throughout all three trimesters without interruption as this is associated with better outcomes.
Active IBD increases risk of pregnancy complications and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Most medications have a favorable safety profile for use during pregnancy, regardless if in disease flare or remission. Short course corticosteroids for induction and management of flare is permitted. Thiopurines should not be started during pregnancy for a disease flare, but may be continued during pregnancy if previously on monotherapy. Biologics should be continued throughout pregnancy without interruption and timing of third trimester dosing made based on drug levels and estimated date of delivery. Risks/benefit assessment of therapies and disease control is important and should be individualized.
aThe Ohio State University Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center
bDivision of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA
Correspondence to Anita Afzali, MD, MPH, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, 395 West 12th Avenue Room 280, Columbus, OH 43210, USA. Tel: +1 614 688 6710; e-mail: email@example.com