Irritable bowel disease (IBD) is typically diagnosed in early adulthood with treatment prescribed at diagnosis to reduce symptoms and allow the patient to live a normal, comfortable life. Patients treated for IBD often have questions about the effect of treatment on fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Researchers from Spain recently examined this issue and published the subsequent report in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology.

About 850 patients, all of whom received care at the same medical center, were asked to complete a questionnaire for the study. The patients had parented 659 children with about 35% of children being born after patients were diagnosed with IBD. More than 130 miscarriages were reported, about 45% of which occurred after diagnosis.

Conclusion: Researchers found a higher risk of C-section delivery in patients diagnosed with IBD. Preterm delivery was also more prevalent. About 16% of patients chose to stop medical treatment during pregnancy under the advice of a medical professional and fewer mothers chose to breastfeed. The infertility rate was comparable to the general population.

Source: Mañosa M, Navarro-Llavat M, Marín L, Zabana Y, Cabré E, Domènech E. Fecundity, pregnancy outcomes, and breastfeeding in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: a large cohort survey. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2013 Mar 11.