This uncommissioned review article was subject to full peer-review.
Review article: a decision-making algorithm for the management of pregnancy in the inflammatory bowel disease patient
Article first published online: 5 JAN 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Volume 35, Issue 5, pages 501–515, March 2012
How to Cite
Habal, F. M. and Huang, V. W. (2012), Review article: a decision-making algorithm for the management of pregnancy in the inflammatory bowel disease patient. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 35: 501–515. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2011.04967.x
- Issue published online: 3 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 5 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 8 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 7 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Received: 18 NOV 2011
Inflammatory bowel disease affects patients who are in their reproductive years. There are many questions regarding the management of IBD patients who are considering or who are already pregnant. These include the effect of the disease and the medications on fertility and on the pregnancy outcome.
To create an evidence-based decision-making algorithm to help guide physicians through the management of pregnancy in the IBD patient.
A literature review using phrases that include: ‘inflammatory bowel disease’, ‘Crohn's disease’, ‘ulcerative colitis’, ‘pregnancy’, ‘fertility’, ‘breast feeding’, ‘delivery’, ‘surgery’, ‘immunomodulators’, ‘azathioprine’, ‘mercaptopurine’, ‘biologics’, ‘infliximab’, ‘adalimumab’, ‘certolizumab’.
The four decision-making nodes in the algorithm for the management of pregnancy in the IBD patient, and the key points for each one are as follows: (i) preconception counselling – pregnancy outcome is better if patients remain in remission during pregnancy, (ii) contemplating pregnancy or is already pregnant – drugs used to treat IBD appear to be safe during pregnancy, with the exception of methotrexate and thalidomide, (iii) delivery and (iv) breast feeding – drugs used to treat IBD appear to be safe during lactation, except for ciclosporin. Another key point is that biological agents may be continued up to 30 weeks gestation. The management of pregnancy in the IBD patient should be multi-disciplinary involving the patient and her partner, the family physician, the gastroenterologist and the obstetrician.