Treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Pregnancy: The Issues We Face Today

Oriana M. Damas, Amar R. Deshpande, Danny J. Avalos, Maria T. Abreu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Many women of childbearing age are living with inflammatory bowel disease [IBD], yet there are limited studies on the use of IBD medications in pregnancy. In this review, we provide a comprehensive update on the safety of these medications during pregnancy, particularly thiopurines and biologicals. Antibiotics, steroids, and aminosalicylates are relatively low risk for use in pregnancy, and growing evidence supports the safety of immunomodulators and anti-tumour necrosis factor agents as well. Available studies on infliximab, adalimumab, and certolizumab pegol show no increase in adverse events during pregnancy or perinatally. Similarly, studies on lactation demonstrate that concentrations of subcutaneous anti-tumour necrosis factor biologicals are undetectable, and levels of thiopurines and infliximab are negligible in breast milk. Less is known about anti-integrins in pregnancy [eg natalizumab and vedolizumab] but currently available data suggest they may be safe as well. Although more studies are needed to examine the long-term effects of these medications on offspring, the available data provide reassuring information for providers caring for women of childbearing age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)928-936
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Crohn’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • breastfeeding
  • pregnancy
  • ulcerative colitis


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