Something I was scared about when I found out I was pregnant was how it would effect my Ulcerative Colitis (UC). For those of you who don’t know I was diagnosed in 2011 with the disease. UC is an auto-immune disease and a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This means that the bodies immune system of somebody with UC attacks the healthy tissue in the lining of the large bowel and rectum causing it to become inflamed. It is thought that the bodies immune system mistakes harmless bacteria in the gut as a threat, leading it to react in a defence. There is no cure. UC is controlled through medication and/or surgery.
I had read that pregnancy can either have a good effect on your symptoms or a very bad effect. Great. Luckily for me, I was in remission at the time of conception which drastically cuts the chances of you having a relapse during pregnancy. To be honest, since being pregnant I don’t even feel like I have the disease right now. I saw my Gastroenterology consultant as soon as I found out I was pregnant to check I was still ok to take my medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which thankfully it is. But he also said, that there’s a high chance that I’d relapse soon after giving birth. Something I’m not looking forward to and hoping my lucky streak continues.
As women with UC (or any auto-immune disease for that matter) are at a higher risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and labour/delivery complications, I was automatically referred to an Obstetrician consultant to have regular scans and clinic check ups which I was very thankful for, just for piece of mind that everything was progressing nicely. So if you have an auto immune disease and aren’t referred to a consultant, ASK FOR IT! Even if you are in remission, there’s every chance of a relapse and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The only hiccup I’ve had so far is being struck with anaemia at around 14 weeks pregnant. Very common in pregnancy and simply rectified with an iron supplement, but for someone with UC it’s not that simple. I can’t have regular iron supplements as they set my UC off, big time! I normally have an intravenous infusion when my iron is low, however my Obstetrician was reluctant to send me for one whilst pregnant as there’s a risk of going into anaphylactic shock….. No thank you. Initially he prescribed me with a liquid supplement which he said was easier on the stomach and I should be fine with it…. boy was he wrong! So for a few weeks, I had to just settle for my pregnancy vitamins and ate a lot of cereal to try and get my iron up. It seemed to work fine for me.
I’m now 34 weeks pregnant and happy to report I’m currently still in remission. Get in.