Audrey H. Calderwood, MD; Sunanda V. Kane, MD


October 08, 2004

In This Article


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, 2 chronic conditions of unknown etiology that can affect women in their childbearing years. There are many issues of clinical consideration that arise for the female patient with IBD who is pregnant or contemplating pregnancy, including: inheritance in the offspring; fertility; the effect of the gestational period on IBD and, conversely, the effect of IBD on the pregnancy; and the safety of drugs on the developing fetus and nursing newborn. Issues regarding fertility and potential teratogenicity from medications used to control the disease also concern couples when the male partner is afflicted with IBD. This article reviews some of the knowledge regarding the effects of IBD and its treatment on fertility and pregnancy, and summarizes the literature regarding treatment options and outcomes in adults with IBD who wish to have children or who are pregnant or lactating.


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