Preconception Care Reduces Relapse of Inflammatory Bowel Disease During Pregnancy

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Women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may have incorrect beliefs about their disease and its medication in relation to pregnancy. We studied the effects of preconception care (PCC) on patients' behavior during pregnancy, disease relapse during pregnancy, and birth outcomes.


In a prospective study, we followed up all women with IBD seen at the preconception outpatient clinic at Erasmus MC–University Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands (from 2008 through 2014). We compared patients who received PCC before they became pregnant (PCC group; n = 155) with patients who visited the clinic after they already were pregnant (no-PCC group; n = 162). We collected data on lifestyle, medication adherence, planning of conception, disease activity, and birth outcomes. We compared adherence to medical advice, rates of disease relapse during pregnancy, and birth outcomes.


The PCC group was on average younger than the no-PCC group (29.7 vs 31.4 y;P= .001), and a greater proportion were nulliparous (76.1% vs 51.2%;P= .0001). PCC was associated with adherence to IBD medication during pregnancy (adjusted odds ratio [aOR],5.69; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.88–17.27), adequate folic acid intake (aOR, 5.26; 95% CI, 2.70–10.26), and smoking cessation (aOR, 4.63; 95% CI, 1.22–17.55). PCC reduced disease relapse during pregnancy independent of parity, disease duration, or disease activity before conception (aOR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.28–0.95). The PCC group was less likely to deliver babies of low birth weight (aOR, 0.08; 95% CI, 0.01–0.48).


In a prospective study, we found that preconception care reduces IBD relapse during pregnancy by promoting adherence to medication and smoking cessation. Preconception also reduces risk for babies of low birth weight.

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