Crohns & Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a trying time for all women. According to Sharon Dobson the added the complicated health issues and the additional weight can be overwhelming for many. But when you add in severe health problems like Crohn’s Disease, the stress levels can reach unhealthy levels. So, what effects does Crohn’s Disease have on pregnancy and what does this mean for the health of the baby?

Pregnancy & Crohns Dobson mentions that studies have shown that most women or couples who have an active case of Crohn’s Disease (they regularly get flare-ups) may have trouble even conceiving. A common drug used to treat Crohn’s Disease called sulfasalzine may render men temporarily infertile. There are less common medications available for men who are looking to conceive so she suggests that you consult your doctor to get switched to a treatment that won’t damage your sperm count.

She goes on to say, "Most women who have Crohn’s Disease are able to carry their baby to a full-term pregnancy and have a healthy boy or girl, but there are some direct links between Crohn’s Disease and problems which could potentially crop up. Since Crohn’s is responsible for causing ulcers and abscesses in the body, women who may have these in the birth canal or in the vagina may need to have a caesarean section birth."

Sharon Dobson also mentions that crohns disease has been linked to a higher rate of miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth at a rate of two to three times. There are also links between a worsening of symptoms directly after becoming pregnant and during the first trimester. Some women also experience a severe flare-up immediately after giving birth. The one thing to keep in mind is that every case of Crohn’s is different and every pregnancy is different, as well. There is no link at this time that says if you have severe Crohn’s related symptoms during one pregnancy that you’ll have them during your next one, too.

One of the most important aspects to having a healthy baby is eating a proper diet. As everyone knows, a woman’s diet changes dramatically during pregnancy, but diet can be a main trigger to Crohn’s flair-ups.

So how to rectify the two? The best thing to do is to consult your doctors and remember, if you are treating your Crohn’s with sulfasalazine,folic acid to help prevent birth defects. Most likely, your doctor and obstetrician will recommend a few special foods and an increased
vitamin and mineral supplement plan.

Dobson ends by saying, "There is a debated genetic link associated with Crohn’s. Some studies have shown no real link, while others have shown that if someone in your family has Crohn’s, there is a 10 times greater chance of developing it, and if that person is a brother or a sister, the risk jumps to 30 times. Targeting the actual genes that cause it has been extremely challenging since it appears that more than one gene affects Crohn’s disease."

"The main consensus on this controversial area is that there may be some genetic link, but it’s all about the environmental risk factors associated with it. Don’t smoke, try to eat right and keep the stress down and you don’t have to worry about passing Crohn’s Disease on to your newborn baby".

Source:, blog oct 2006.
Author: Sharon Dobson