Can Pregnancy Increase my IBD Symptoms?

Can Pregnancy Increase My IBD SymptomsIf you are thinking about starting a family but you have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, better known as IBD, then you probably want to know whether being pregnant will affect your symptoms, and how much.  For men, be aware that this is a serious concern for any woman who has IBD, and she is going to need your support if her symptoms do flare up during the pregnancy.

  • Before you attempt to conceive, you should speak to your proctologist about your intentions.  This is because the management for your condition may need to be changed for the duration of your pregnancy, particularly if you are taking some medications that are used for IBD treatment.

  • IBD, regardless of which type it (either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), should ideally be under control when you become pregnant, as this reduces the chances of any complications developing.  Having the symptoms under control at the start means that they are much more likely to stay that way for the duration of the pregnancy.  If this is the case, then a woman with IBD is just as likely to have a healthy baby as a woman without the condition.

  • You may be wondering whether IBD can reduce your chances of getting pregnant, but you will normally have nothing to worry about regarding this.  If your IBD is in remission, then your fertility should not be affected by your condition.  However, if your disease is active when you are trying to conceive, then this may have a slight impact, especially if the type of IBD you have is Crohn’s disease.  It is worth getting a blood test done if you presently have active IBD, as this can give an indication about the levels of inflammation present.  If you currently have severe inflammation in the small intestine, then it can cause difficulty in conceiving because the Fallopian tubes may also be affected.

  • So, can pregnancy make your symptoms of IBD worse?  Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this, as it can vary considerably between women.  However, if you are in remission at the beginning of the pregnancy, this is likely to remain the same for the entire time.  The risk of having a flare during these nine months is about one in three, which is the same as for women who are not pregnant.  If you are experiencing symptoms at the time you become pregnant, then this is also likely to continue for the duration, and is the reason why many colorectal surgeons will recommend that you get your symptoms under control first.  You may also find that flare ups become slightly more severe than usual if they occur during the first three months, but after this, many women report that the symptoms are reduced.

It is difficult to predict the effect that a pregnancy will have on your IBD symptoms, and a subsequent pregnancy may be different yet again.  If pregnancy is something that you are considering, then speak to your colorectal doctor in Los Angeles for advice first.