Colitis Home > Ulcerative Colitis and Pregnancy

Going through ulcerative colitis and pregnancy at the same doesn't necessarily lead to problems. Research shows that most pregnancies and deliveries are not impaired by a woman's ulcerative colitis. However, it is still important that women with ulcerative colitis talk with their healthcare providers before becoming pregnant.

Ulcerative Colitis and Getting Pregnant

Women with inactive ulcerative colitis do not seem to have fertility problems related to the disease. One group of women who do appear to have increased infertility rates are women with active ulcerative colitis who have had an ileoanal pouch anastomosis.
Another group of people with ulcerative colitis who may be at an increased risk of infertility are men who are taking sulfasalazine (Azulfidine®), an ulcerative colitis medication that can cause sperm problems. These problems improve when the medicine is stopped.

Ulcerative Colitis During Pregnancy

Research has shown that the course of pregnancy and delivery is usually not impaired in women with ulcerative colitis.
Women who have inactive ulcerative colitis at the time of conception are no more likely to have a flare-up of their disease during pregnancy than if they were not pregnant. Flare-ups, if they do occur, are more likely in the first trimester and right after the baby is born. Women with inactive ulcerative colitis at the time of conception do not appear to have an increased risk of spontaneous abortion.
Women who have active ulcerative colitis are likely to continue to have symptoms during pregnancy. Women with active ulcerative colitis at the time of conception may also have an increased risk of spontaneous abortion.
Most medications used for ulcerative colitis (see Ulcerative Colitis Medication) and other inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are safe or likely safe during pregnancy. Surgery, if necessary, is safest during the second trimester.
Pre-term birth or early delivery appears to be two to three times more common in women with IBD, though most children born to women with IBD are unaffected.
Women with ulcerative colitis should talk with their healthcare providers about ulcerative colitis and pregnancy before becoming pregnant.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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