Public Release: 

Twenty-Year prospective study of pregnant women with inflammatory bowel disease finds healthy babies

Moms on maintenance therapy had fewer relapses

American College of Gastroenterology

ORLANDO (November 1, 2004)--Infants born to women with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are no more likely to develop congenital malformations than infants born to healthy mothers, according to a study presented at the 69th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. Researchers from the University of Toronto presented a prospective study of 138 women with IBD who gave birth to 174 infants over 20 years. Data indicated infants born to mothers on maintenance therapy for IBD had higher birth weights than mothers with IBD who were not on medications.

"Our study is important, because population-based data on pregnancy outcomes in IBD is scant and based on cohort studies and registry data. Moreover, the safety of medications in pregnancy has been substantiated only in retrospective and cohort studies," explained Flavio Habal, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Habal and his colleague Dr. Samir Grover matched 138 women with IBD who gave birth with 83 non-pregnant females with IBD and 100 healthy pregnant females. They measured pregnancy outcomes for the mothers including relapse of IBD symptoms, and fetal outcomes, which included mean birth weight and congenital abnormalities.

They found pregnant patients with IBD had a lower relapse rate than case-matched non-pregnant females with IBD. Patients on maintenance therapy had fewer relapses than those not on medications. The outcomes for the infants included higher birth weights for babies born to mothers on maintenance therapy. There were three congenital anomalies out of 174 (1.7 percent) births in the IBD group compared to four in 100 for the healthy pregnant women in the control group.


The ACG was formed in 1932 to advance the scientific study and medical treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The College promotes the highest standards in medical education and is guided by its commitment to meeting the needs of clinical gastroenterology practitioners. Consumers can get more information on GI diseases through the following ACG-sponsored programs:

  • 1-800-978-7666 (free brochures on common GI disorders, including ulcer, colon cancer, gallstones, and liver disease)
  • 1-866-IBS-RELIEF and (free educational materials)
  • 1-800-HRT-BURN (free brochure and video on heartburn and GERD)
  • (ACG's Web site)

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