I was recently asked if I might write on the subject of pregnancy and IBD.
As I have noted before, I was diagnosed with Crohn's when I was in my early teen years. Although, pregnancy was not on my mind as a young lady starting out in life, it was still on the back of my mind, and the mind of my mother. The 'what if' ...
We have two children living. We lost one baby early on at 10 weeks, when I was 37. I was 39 years old when I had our son. That was 11 years ago! The pregnancy was, in most aspects, easy. I struggled some with tiredness and fatigue, possibly, more than most. I was not on any medications, for IBD, at the time. I ceased taking a particular medication that would have caused birth defects. This medication ceased before we began trying to get pregnant. I cannot remember what it was but my Doctor at time recommended that I discontinue before even thinking about getting pregnant. The pregnancy was easy, and our boy came out like a rocket. Labor was easy, and no pain meds (not my choice) because he came so fast.
I was 42 when our daughter, turning 7 in Oct., was born. She was our little surprise. We had actively tried getting pregnant soon after our son. Since my time clock was obviously ticking quiet loudly! But we stopped when I began to experience a flare, and were embarking on yet another surgery (3rd) when we discovered (shocked really) that I was pregnant. It was determined however that the surgery must take place regardless of the pregnancy. The surgery was only postponed till I was in my second trimester! You can imagine our concerns!
I had significant narrowing in the bowel, due to active disease, and scar tissue which could result in bowel obstruction. At 4 months pregnant I underwent full abdominal (bowl resection) surgery. Thankful to God our girl did great, I did great, and both of us are here to tell the story!
All to say; Every person,and pregnancy is individualized according to one's health. It's very important to work closely with all your medical professionals (G.I. and OB) before, during and after you get pregnant. Such as fertility and the safety of certain drugs. Your nutrition, mediations, labor delivery, importance of rest are all important.
Make sure all your doctors are talking to one another, are familiar with your health history, and all the medications you are taking or have taken in the past. There are medications that should cease even before you decide to get pregnant, should never be taken while pregnant, and the type of care a person should take after pregnancy while breast feeding.
It is possible to have a safe Crohn's pregnancy and healthy baby!