How do Crohn’s disease and pregnancy affect each other?

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How do Crohn’s disease and pregnancy affect each other?

Crohn’s disease and pregnancy can affect each other. However, most women who conceive while their Crohn’s disease is in remission can have a normal pregnancy and healthy baby. Learn more here.

Some women with Crohn’s disease may worry whether being pregnant will affect their condition, while others fear that disease or the medications they are taking will harm the fetus.

Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation within the digestive tract. Along with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fatigue, and unintended weight loss. These symptoms can vary in severity and often come and go in cycles.

Doctors refer to long periods of few or no symptoms as being in remission. A flare-up or relapse is when symptoms reappear or get worse. There is no cure for Crohn’s disease, so treatment aims to keep a person in remission.

In this article, we discuss how Crohn’s disease and pregnancy can affect each other, and what women who have IBD and are thinking about having children should consider.

How do they affect each other?

How Crohn’s disease and pregnancy affect each other depends on whether the woman’s symptoms are in remission.

Most women who conceive while their Crohn’s disease is in remission can have a healthy pregnancy. According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, the best time for a woman to become pregnant is when her Crohn’s disease has been in remission for at least 3 to 6 months.

Research suggests that many women who conceive when their Crohn’s disease is active will find that their symptoms remain active throughout the pregnancy. Active Crohn’s disease can affect both the health of the woman and the fetus, increasing the risk of:

  • miscarriage
  • premature birth
  • low birth weight
  • other complications of labor or delivery

According to a 2017 review, becoming pregnant during remission does not change the risk of symptoms returning.

Read on: How do Crohn's disease and pregnancy affect each other?

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