Ready to start a family, but not sure how your ulcerative colitis will impact your ability to have a safe and healthy pregnancy? This is a completely understandable concern, but the good news is that although you may encounter some challenges, a healthy pregnancy is still possible for someone living with ulcerative colitis if you work with a doctor to get it into remission before pregnancy, a new study indicates.
Will Ulcerative Colitis Make It Harder for Me to Get Pregnant?
Researchers found that women with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both types of inflammatory bowel disease, had a greater risk of pregnancy complications and poor maternal and fetal outcomes. The disease causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and typically occurs in young people.
Researchers reviewed more than 8 million pregnancies from 2016 to 2018, finding over 14,000 women with IBD. The research showed that pregnant women with IBD had higher numbers of gestational diabetes, postpartum hemorrhage, hypertensive complications, preterm delivery, fetal growth restriction and fetal death.
Patients with IBD also spent longer in the hospital after giving birth, by about a half-day, and had about $2,700 more in medical costs.
We understand this news may create concern about your chances of having a healthy child, but this further reiterates the need to make the necessary changes before you begin trying to conceive.
“Based on our findings, we suggest that women who have moderate to severe IBD should get pre-conception counseling and be treated aggressively to achieve remission prior to getting pregnant,” Ghouri says. “Our study results illustrate the importance that IBD be optimally controlled prior to conception.”
How Can I Raise My Chances of a Healthy Pregnancy?
So how exactly can you raise your chances of a healthy pregnancy?
Create an action plan with your doctor
The first thing you should do is make an appointment to see your doctor as well as your OB/GYN. Seeing an obstetrician, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, is also an option. These doctors can help you create an action plan to get your ulcerative colitis under control and into remission. This is an important step because if you get pregnant while the disease is still active, there’s a good chance your symptoms will continue or get worse during pregnancy.
Get your weight under control
What exactly does a flare-up during pregnancy look like? Active UC flare-ups can leave you underweight and without nutrients that are important for pregnancy resulting in miscarriage or a premature and underweight baby.
Ultimately your goal should be to put on more pounds whether you are underweight or at a healthy weight. Not sure if your weight is healthy? Here’s a quick tip: if you’re at a healthy weight when you get pregnant, you should