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Gut. 1980 Jun;21(6):469-74.

Ulcerative colitis and pregnancy.


A survey has been made of pregnancy occurring in patients who were attending the Ulcerative Colitis Clinic at Oxford during the 20-year period, 1960-79 inclusive. There were 256 married women of child-bearing age who attended during this period. Of these, 100 were excluded from the survey for various reasons, such as that they had completed their family before the onset of the ulcerative colitis, had already had an hysterectomy, or had a proctocolectomy before their first pregnancy. Of the remaining 156 patients, nine could not be traced. Full details were obtained from 147 patients, virtually all of whom were interviewed. The fertility of these patients was normal. Of the 147 women, 119 (81%) had conceived and only 10 (6.8%) were involuntarily infertile. The size of family approximated to that found in the general British population. The overall outcome of the pregnancies was similar to that in the general British population. The patients in whom the disease was quiescent at the start of pregnancy fared particularly well. Those with active disease had a somewhat lower chance of producing a normal live baby. The small group of patients in whom the disease was severe had a much lower chance of a normal outcome. Patients in whom the ulcerative colitis was quiescent at the beginning of pregnancy had a good chance of remaining symptom-free throughout the pregnancy and puerperium. Even if the colitis recurred, it was likely to be mild and responsive to medical treatment. By contrast, when the ulcerative colitis was active at the start of pregnancy, most patients continued to have symptoms in spite of medical treatment. Some patients had their first attack of ulcerative colitis during pregnancy or the puerperium. In contrast to previous experience the attacks were generally mild and responded to medical treatment. Medical treatment with corticosteroids or sulphasalazine appeared to have no obvious deleterious effects on the fetus or new-born child.

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