Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis (together known as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD) are very common in young women, affecting almost 1-in-200 pregnancies. Recently, at SHORE for Women, we’ve been caring for a number of pregnancies complicated by IBD, so we thought this was a good opportunity to highlight some of the issues IBD patients face.
The effect of IBD on a pregnancy can be complex. Often women have had previous bowel surgery, or they may be taking certain medications which should be used with caution in pregnancy. It’s important for women to understand the impact of their bowel disease on pregnancy:
- Women with IBD who are contemplating pregnancy should have a pre-pregnancy consultation with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist to ensure their medications can be safely continued.
- Disease flares may either increase or decrease in pregnancy.
- Although safe vaginal birth can often be achieved, certain women with IBD may require elective caesarean delivery.
Canadian IBD experts have recently published clinical guidelines on caring for women with IBD in pregnancy, which underscore the importance of being cared for by an experienced high-risk obstetrician / maternal-fetal medicine specialist (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4958472/pdf/CJGH2016-9513742.pdf)
Dr Colin Walsh has a wealth of experience in caring for women with Crohns and UC and is an expert in all of the common medications used during pregnancy (www.shoreforwomen.com.au/inflammatory-bowel-disease/). He runs the Medical Disorders in Pregnancy Clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital and sees private patients in his rooms in St Leonards. If you would like to make an appointment to see Dr Walsh, please call us on 1300 460 111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.