What is Ulcerative Colitis (UC)?

Posted On: March 14, 2017 By Nathan D. Fox, MD

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the intestinal tract, specifically the large colon, causing pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.  It has many similarities to Crohns disease, but Crohns affects any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Signs or symptoms of UC includes pain, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and poor weight gain. UC treatment generally includes medical immunomodulation or surgical resection, which can cure UC.

How does Ulcerative Colitis affect pregnancy?

Fortunately, most women with UC do well during pregnancy, especially for those whose disease was not active around the time of conception. For women with active disease, pregnancy issues may arise, including nutrition and weight gain, poor fetal growth, and medication use during pregnancy. Severe disease can be associated with preterm birth as well. Some women experience a relapse after delivery.

Although women whose disease is under control will usually have proper weight gain, a nutritional consultation can be helpful. Additionally, patients with UC are at an increased risk of delivering smaller infants. This may be due to the decrease in nutrition, medication use, or from the disease itself. Serial growth ultrasounds during the third trimester may be suggested in these cases.

Finally, most medications used for UC treatment are considered safe in pregnancy. Overall, most women with UC do well in pregnancy, particularly if their symptoms are controlled.  If you have any questions regarding Ulcerative Colitis, visit our frequently asked questions page.

Carnegie Imaging for Women blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!

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