Surgical management of patients with ulcerative colitis during pregnancy: Maternal and fetal outcomes

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Background and aims:

Ulcerative colitis can develop during the reproductive years, and there are limited data about perinatal care for patients with ulcerative colitis. In this study, we analyzed perinatal follow-up, complications, and maternal and fetal outcomes in pregnant patients undergoing surgery for ulcerative colitis.


Between January 1998 and July 2013, female patients who underwent surgery during pregnancy for abdominal complications of ulcerative colitis and followed up during their pregnancy in our institution were included in our study. Patient characteristics, complications, operations performed, maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality during the perinatal period, and type of delivery were analyzed.


There were nine female patients with a median (range) age of 30 (21–33) years. Indications for surgery were fulminant/refractory colitis (n = 6) and bowel obstruction (n = 3). Operations performed were subtotal colectomy with an end ileostomy (n = 3), Turnbull blowhole procedure (n = 3), adhesiolysis with small bowel resection (n = 1), detorsion and decompression of bowel (n = 1) and adhesolysis (n = 1). Median (range) postoperative length of stay was 11 (5–28) days and median (range) duration of pregnancy was 36 (32–40) weeks. There were only two patients who had a transvaginal delivery, while a cesarean section was performed in seven patients. Indications for cesarean section were as follows: physician’s preference (n = 4), planned small bowel surgery with cesarean section (n = 2), and metabolic disorders (n = 1). There were no perinatal maternal or fetal deaths.


Surgery for ulcerative colitis complications can be performed safely if indicated during pregnancy under the care of a multidisciplinary team that includes gastroenterologists, obstetricians, and colorectal surgeons.

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