Inflammatory bowel disease is also known as  IBD. It is a group of conditions that affect the intestines and other parts of the digestive tract. There are 2 main types of IBD. These are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both of these conditions causes inflammation of the intestines. Most women with this condition have healthy pregnancies.  You need to talk to your doctor if you have inflammatory bowel disease and are trying to get pregnant or is pregnant.  He will make sure any medications  you are taking for your condition is safe during pregnancy. He will also ensure that you get pregnant at a time when you’re not having serious symptoms. This will help prevent complications for you and your baby.




The exact cause is unknown.  However it may be due to environmental or genetic factors or problems with the immune system.


What are the symptoms of IBD ?


Symptoms may be mild or severe. They may come and go and you may have a long period of remission. Common symptoms include :

  • bleeding from the rectum or bloody stool
  • belly cramping and aching
  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss

If you get symptoms when  you get pregnant, it is likely that you will get symptoms during pregnancy. Pregnancy doesn’t make symptoms  worse. If your condition is getting worse, let your healthcare provider no right away. You may need to see a high risk obstetrician who specializes in treating pregnant women with IBD.

What is the effect of IBD on pregnancy ?


It does not affect your ability to get pregnant. However if you’ve had certain surgeries for the condition, you may have difficulty getting pregnant.  If you have this disease and want to get pregnant, it is best to get pregnant when you are in remission. That is when you have no symptoms. You need to discuss the timing of your pregnancy with your doctor.


Most medications taken  for IBD are safe during pregnancy. Your doctor will switch medication if what you’re taking is not safe. If you have inflammatory bowel disease, talk to your doctor before trying to get pregnant to make sure any treatment you  get is safe for you and your unborn child.


Do not stop taking your medications if you have this condition.  Doing that can cause harm to you and your baby.


People with IBD are more likely to have pregnancy complications such as

You are at high risk of these complications if you have serious symptoms at the time  you get pregnant or if you have symptoms during pregnancy.


Most women with IBD can have vaginal delivery. However Crohn’s disease make it more likely for you to have a cesarean delivery. If you have Crohn’s disease , your doctor may recommend c-section if you’ve had certain surgeries and if you have active symptoms that involve the anal area.


Is your baby at risk of IBD ?


If one parent has IBD, your baby has about a 2 to 5 percent chance (2 to 5 out of 100) of having IBD. If both parents have IBD, your baby has about a 33 percent chance (1 in 3) of having the condition.


How is IBD treated ?


Medications are used to control your symptoms and help heal your intestine.  If medication doesn’t work or you experience any complications, you may need surgery.


Content Sources
Inflammatory bowel disease and pregnancy. March of Dimes. Accessed January 14, 2016


Inflammatory bowel disease. WebMD. Accessed January 14, 2016


Inflammatory bowel disease.Mayo Foundation. Accessed January 14, 2016

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