This is Part 2 of the article Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Pregnancy
Does having IBD make it more likely for me to have a baby with a birth defect or pregnancy complications?
No, the risk for birth defects does not seem to be increased in women with IBD. Women with active disease may be at an increased risk for pregnancy complications including premature birth, tillbirth, or having a baby with low birth weight. The risk of complications may be related to the severity of the mother’s illness during pregnancy.
Women with Crohn’s disease may be at an increased risk for having Vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K is important in the blood clotting process. Women with IBD should have their nutritional status evaluated by their health care professional prior to and during pregnancy. If a woman is unable to absorb nutrients from her diet and prenatal vitamins alone, additional supplements may be necessary.
What medications are safe to treat my IBD during pregnancy?
There are many types of medications used to treat IBD. In some cases, a woman will need to take several medications during pregnancy. Types of medications used to treat IBD include immunomodulators, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and anti-diarrheal agents. For information on specific agents see OTIS medication fact sheets.
Because IBD can be associated with risks during pregnancy, it is important that IBD remain as inactive as possible. The risk with any medication treatment must be weighed against the benefits of keeping IBD inactive. It is important that you discuss treatment options with your gastroenterologist when planning pregnancy, or as soon as you learn that you are pregnant.
I would like to breastfeed my baby. Are my medications safe to use while breastfeeding?
Some medications are low risk, while others may be more concerning. For information on specific agents consult your primary Health Care Provider or Visit OTIS. Treatment options and the risks and benefits of breastfeeding and use of medications should be discussed with your health care professional.
My partner has IBD and uses medication to treat his symptoms. Will this affect his ability to have children or increase our chances to have a child with a birth defect?
IBD alone does not usually affect fertility in men. However, if a man has had surgery for IBD, he may have problems related to ejaculation.
Some of the medications men use for IBD may have an impact on fertility. These effects may include a reduction or change in sperm production, or cause changes in sperm movement or development. Fertility is usually restored once treatment is stopped.
Exposure of the father to medications is unlikely to increase the risk for a birth defect because, unlike the mother, the father does not share a blood connection with the developing baby.