Bringing your baby into the world

IBD Delivery Options

What to know about delivery with IBD

Determining a mode of delivery is an important step in your pregnancy journey. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, we’re here to help you understand your IBD delivery options.

While we’ve provided some helpful information below as you prepare for delivery, talking with a doctor who specializes in IBD and pregnancy is the best way to ensure the most successful delivery for you and your child.

Vaginal delivery vs. C-section

Vaginal deliveries are a common delivery mode in women with IBD. However, there are certain instances such as active perianal disease or active involvement of disease in which a cesarean section (C-section) is recommended. For women who have an ileoanal pouch (IPAA), or J-pouch, your doctor may suggest a C-section. However, a J-pouch doesn’t completely exclude the possibility of a vaginal delivery, so make sure you talk with your doctor about what’s right for you and your baby.

Mode of delivery has been evaluated and shows no impact on the mother's IBD. In fact, one study found there was no difference in IBD-related surgery, need for hospitalization or escalation in medical therapy among women with either mode of delivery.

Furthermore, there is no increased risk of development of new perianal fistulas among women with Crohn’s disease after vaginal delivery compared to C-section. Women with a history of IPAA may have increased nighttime bowel movements and incontinence, but these reported symptoms did not differ based on mode of delivery. Baseline pouch function was also restored after pregnancy among women with either vaginal delivery or C-section.

More studies are still needed to evaluate the long-term effects of pregnancy and mode of delivery in patients with IBD. As always, it’s best to talk with your gastroenterologist, obstetrician and colorectal surgeon to discuss what mode of delivery is right for you.

You're almost there

It's completely normal to have a little fear when it comes to actually bringing that bundle of joy into the world, especially if this is your first child or it's been a complicated pregnancy. However, delivery is the last step before you get to meet your new family member and it's something to be excited about! If you have concerns about what will happen or what you need to do to prepare, talk to your doctor at least a few weeks before you are due.