Women with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can experience relapses during pregnancy.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – both inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) – relapse risk varies during pregnancy, according to research. The study revealed that women with active IBD near the time of conception have a higher risk of a relapse during pregnancy. Furthermore, women with ulcerative colitis have a higher risk of IBD relapse, compared to women with Crohn’s disease.
Researchers from Erasmus MC-University Medical Center in Rotterdam wrote, “The effects of active disease on birth outcomes have been reported earlier, although these outcomes do not seem representative in the era of biologicals. Also, the retrospective nature of these studies makes it difficult to determine how these pregnant patients were treated for their disease flare.”
The researchers studied the effects of IBD on relapse during pregnancy and birth outcomes.
The researchers followed 298 pregnancies and 226 live births, measuring disease activity and assessing birth outcomes. Majority of women were advised to continue with their IBD treatment during pregnancy and 93 percent adhered to their treatment plan. The researchers wrote, “Periconceptional disease activity was defined as active disease…at any time from eight weeks before conception until the first two weeks of pregnancy.”
Among the participants, 16.4 percent conceived while IBD was active and 29.7 percent had active disease during pregnancy. Within three months of delivery, 12.3 percent experienced a relapse.
After adjusting for other factors (namely, age and smoking status), the researchers found a strong link between disease activity around the time of conception and disease relapse during pregnancy.
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