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Pregnancy Problems

During pregnancy, your health is number one priority. That’s why we went straight to top pregnancy health experts for all the details you want to know about the most common pregnancy problems. In our pregnancy problems guide, you can read about a slew of pregnancy conditions – everything from hemorrhoids to gestational diabetes. Find out what any pregnancy symptom could possibly mean (are you swollen just because you’re expecting, or is it a sign of some complication?) and find out whether or not it’s worth a call to your OB. If you already know you’ve got a pregnancy complication or health condition, our comprehensive articles will give you the scoop on its causes and how it can affect you and baby. Plus, get treatment tips straight from medical experts and pregnant women like you. Yup, we've got answers to all your questions about pregnancy health problems right here!

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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) During Pregnancy

Answers to all your questions about how ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases affect pregnancy.

What is inflammatory bowel disease during pregnancy?

Inflammatory bowel disease is any disease that causes inflammation of the bowel, or colon. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are both inflammatory bowel diseases. If you’ve got inflammatory bowel disease, you’re probably wondering how it will affect you and baby during your pregnancy.

What are the signs of inflammatory bowel disease pregnancy?

Symptoms include abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, bloody stools and weight loss.

Are there any tests for inflammatory bowel disease?

Yes. There are a variety of tests that can help diagnose IBD, including a barium X-ray, but X-rays aren’t used in pregnancy. You’re more likely to be diagnosed from a stool sample or, depending on the severity of the symptoms, a colonoscopy, which allows the doctor to see the inside of the colon to spot any inflammation, ulcers or lesions.

How common is inflammatory bowel disease?

Approximately 1.4 million Americans have inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s disease is more common in women, while ulcerative colitis is slightly more common in men.

How did I get inflammatory bowel disease?

Researchers suspect there’s a genetic link. If someone in your family has inflammatory bowel disease, you’re more likely to have the disease also.

How will inflammatory bowel disease affect my baby?

Your baby will probably be fine. In fact, your inflammatory bowel disease symptoms might be better during pregnancy because of the changes in your hormones and immune system.

If you have a Crohn’s disease flare-up during your pregnancy, your baby is at slightly higher-than-normal risk of preterm birth or stillbirth (see next page for how to treat IBD during pregnancy).

-- Rebecca Kolp, MD, ob-gyn and medical director at Massachusetts General Hospital West


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