Inflammatory Bowel Disease Ups Pregnancy Risks

Pregnant women with IBD should be considered potentially high-risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) face increased risk of pregnancy-related complications, including premature delivery and having infants with low birth weight, according to research published online Dec. 21 in the journal Gut.

Julie A. Cornish, M.D., of Imperial College London in the U.K., and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 12 studies including 3,907 pregnant IBD patients and 320,531 controls. About two-thirds of the women with IBD had Crohn's disease and the rest had ulcerative colitis.

Pregnant women with IBD were 87 percent more likely to deliver before 37 weeks' gestation, compared with women without IBD. What's more, pregnant women with IBD had more than twice the incidence of low birth weight infants (weighing less than 2,500 grams) than controls. Women with IBD were 1.5 times more likely to need a Caesarean section and had a more than twofold increased risk of having infants with congenital abnormalities.

Further study is needed to determine which women with IBD face the highest risks. "This has an impact on the management of IBD patients in pregnancy, who should be treated as a potentially high-risk group," the study authors conclude.

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