I have IBD, and I’m thinking about trying to get pregnant—what steps should I take to prepare?
Congratulations on getting ready to take this exciting step! The more facts you have, the better prepared you can be to play an active role in choices about your care.
Learn more in our resource healthy pregnancies, which leads you through an overview of your journey if you have IBD and are thinking about or trying to get pregnant.
I want to talk to my IBD care team about trying to get pregnant. How should I start the conversation?
Having a plan in place with your care team is a great step to help make sure you have a healthy pregnancy! We put together a discussion guide to bring to appointments with your health care providers so you can have open conversations before, during and after your pregnancy.
If I have IBD, should I plan to see a “high-risk” obstetrician during my pregnancy?
As you start thinking about your pregnancy-related care, you may want to see a maternal-fetal medicine subspecialist and/or obstetric (OB) provider (if you do not have access to specialty care).
An obstetrician (OB) is a medical doctor who specializes in pregnancy and childbirth. A maternal-fetal medicine subspecialist is an OB with three more years of formal schooling who is board-certified in maternal-fetal medicine, making them experts and leaders in the care of complicated pregnancies. An MFM is distinct and different from a “high-risk” OB and can decide the type of monitoring you need and how often you should see your obstetric provider when you’re pregnant.
Learn more about maternal-fetal medicine subspecialists in working with your care team guide.
Can being pregnant cause a flare-up of my IBD symptoms?
Because pregnancy can affect people with IBD in many ways, working closely with your health care team and keeping up good disease management can improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby.
In fact, research studies have shown that being in remission (when you feel well) for 3 to 6 months before getting pregnant can lower your risk of flare-ups during and after pregnancy. Read more about it in your pregnancy with mild to severe IBD.
Can I be on IBD treatment while pregnant?
Treating your IBD with the right medicines may help reduce your risk of a flare and can help lead to a healthier pregnancy. That’s why it’s so important to work with your health care team during your entire pregnancy—from start to finish—to stay on top of your treatment plan.
For more information, check out these myths vs. facts, where we talk about common concerns and provide you with the information you need to make important decisions.
What treatment is safe for me while pregnant?
This is a great question for your care team! Be sure to talk to your gastroenterologist early and often about what you should be taking to treat your IBD and manage flares (before, during and after pregnancy). Bring our discussion guide to your appointments with your health care providers to know what questions to ask.
There are several types of medicines that can be used to help manage IBD, including aminosalicylates, steroids, immunosuppressants, JAK inhibitors, and biologics or biosimilars. Each treatment is different and not all can be used during pregnancy, so it is very important to talk with your health care team about specific risks and benefits of the treatment options. Remember, you should never stop or change medications until you talk to your gastroenterologist.
For even more tips and ideas to help manage the emotional and social aspects of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and live life on your terms, visit My IBD Life.