The Importance of Monitoring the Postpartum Period in Moderate to Severe Crohn's Disease

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2021 May 17;izab104. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izab104. Online ahead of print.

Audrey Bennett 1, Alexander Mamunes 1, Mindy Kim 2, Caroline Duley 1, Ailish Garrett 1, Kim Annis 1, Julianne Wagnon 1, Robin Dalal 1, Elizabeth Scoville 1, Dawn Beaulieu 1, David Schwartz 1, Sara Horst 1


Author information

  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States.
  • 2UCB Inc., Georgia, United States.


Background: Prior research demonstrates Crohn's disease patients often do well in pregnancy; however, less is known about the risk of flare in the postpartum period.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted at a tertiary care inflammatory bowel disease center. All pregnant women with Crohn's disease who were followed in the postpartum period, defined as 6 months after delivery, were included. Statistical analysis included χ 2 analysis, Wilcoxon rank sum test, and logistic regression analysis. The primary outcome of interest was rate of flare in the postpartum period.

Results: There were 105 patients included in the study, with a majority (68%) on biologic medication during pregnancy. Thirty-one patients (30%) had a postpartum flare at a median of 9 weeks (range 2-24 weeks). Twenty-five patients (81%) had their postpartum flare managed in the outpatient setting with medications (only 4 of these patients required prednisone). 6 of 31 patients (19%) were hospitalized at a median of 4 weeks (range 2-26 weeks) after delivery, requiring intravenous corticosteroids or surgery. In multivariable regression, there was no significant increase in risk of postpartum flare with increasing maternal age, flare during pregnancy, or steroid or biologic use during pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy increased risk of postpartum flare (odds ratio, 16.2 [1.72-152.94], P < 0.05).

Conclusion: In a cohort of Crohn's disease patients, 30% experienced a postpartum flare despite being on medical therapy, but most were able to be managed in the outpatient setting.


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