JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Update on pregnancy and breastfeeding in the era of biologics

Andres Yarur, Sunanda V Kane
Digestive and Liver Disease 2013, 45 (10): 787-94
23474350
Inflammatory bowel diseases are chronic conditions that frequently affect patients during their childbearing years. Considering the characteristics of disease and the medications used to treat it, several issues arise in the care of these patients when they attempt or achieve conception. We review the most current evidence concerning fertility and pregnancy outcomes in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. With the exception of those women who undergo pelvic surgery, patients with inflammatory bowel diseases have no decreased fertility. Sulfasalazine decreases fertility in men. When looking at obstetrical outcomes, active disease at conception is associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight. While most medications used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases are low risk, some precautions need to be taken and the risk-to-benefit ratio needs to be considered on an individualized basis. In general, aminosalicylates and thiopurines should be continued, but methotrexate is contraindicated. Anti-tumour necrosis factor agents are considered safe to continue but full monoclonal antibodies do cross the placenta. As a general rule, the it is important to counsel women that conception is optimal when disease is in remission, as adverse obstetrical outcomes are directly associated with disease activity. Clinicians need to educate patients before, during and after conception, emphasizing treatment compliance.

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