"Can I Get Pregnant if I Have UC?"
Having inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is scary. Wanting to be a mom while also managing IBD is also scary. But, it can definitely be done. I think a lot about when that time comes for me, and have the thought of: “Can I even have kids since I have ulcerative colitis?”
This is not the most fun thought to have, so I reached out to some IBD moms to get the scoop on what it’s like being pregnant with IBD, and being a mom after the fact. Their words — from the challenges to the rewards — have inspired nothing but confidence, with a little reality mixed in. I talked to about a dozen IBD moms, and here are some of their direct quotes and statements of their shared experiences.
What was the best part of being pregnant with IBD?
“Just being pregnant, after one doctor had told me years prior that she couldn’t see me ever having kids.” — anonymous IBD mommy
“Not having symptoms!” — Brittany
“My UC (ulcerative colitis) went into remission for the most part.” — Ronda
“Not being constipated! The dreaded ‘first postpartum poop’ was a breeze!” — Amanda
Most of the moms reported their IBD symptoms completely disappeared during their pregnancy.
What was the hardest part of being pregnant with IBD?
“Dealing with emergency runs to the bathroom. I’d have to stop nursing, interrupt bed prep, put my baby in the tub while I sat on the toilet.” —Amanda
“The guilt of feeling like an inadequate parent.” — Amanda L.
“Taking steroids while I was pregnant.” — Sue
“Working with both my gyno (gynecologist) and my GI doctor (gastroenterologist) to get my meds to make sure my baby was safe.” — Ronda
Most IBD moms point out that staying hydrated is really important, yet hard to do when you’re pregnant. They also worked very closely with their doctors to make sure everything was ok.
What’s been the most challenging part of being a parent with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's?
“Being exhausted sometimes.” — anonymous IBD mommy
“Stress management. Sometimes I don’t have time to take care of myself, so my symptoms can get worse.” — Brittany
“Keeping up with my toddler’s energy!” — Stephanie
“It’s hard telling your kids you’re having a bad day. It’s even harder as the children get older and start their questions with: ‘Is today a bad day momma?’” — Amanda
Most IBD moms are exhausted and tired when it comes to parenting after a day with IBD.
What’s been the most rewarding part of being a parent with IBD?
Teaching by kids NOW already to manage their emotions and stress. — Anonymous IBD Mommy
“My kids are my joy and my stress relief.” — Brittany
“Watching my kids grow up to be the amazing young adults they’re becoming. They’re extremely empathetic and fiercely loyal.” — Ronda
“Knowing after all my body has been through, it had the ability to bring me this amazing child.” — Stephanie
“Staying home and having more quality time with the kids. And fully understanding when they’re sick.” — anonymous IBD mommy
“You appreciate every day, especially the good days.” — Amanda
Most IBD moms share the sentiment that they are able to teach their kids a lot about compassion and patience.
Moms with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's have gone through a lot, from believing they could never have kids, to finding the energy they need to keep up with their little ones. All of the moms offered their advice for other parents or moms, or women with IBD who want to be a mom:
“I heard a member in a support forum, who was worried about having kids, that if her kids had IBD, she would be the best parent for her child. I thought this was sweet, and a wonderful way to look at it.” — anonymous IBD mommy
“Take time for yourself! Meditate!” — Brittany
“Accept help when it’s offered. Talk to people; even your non-IBD friends about it. Reach out to a support group like Girls With Guts.” — Ronda
“You can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s hard as a mom to remember to take care of yourself while you’re caring for your child, but it’s so very important.” — Stephanie
“Don’t let IBD stop you from being a parent and do everything you can with your children.” — Sue
“Hang in there!” — Dezarae
“You are not alone! There are so many others out there who understand.” — anonymous IBD mommy
“You can do this! It’s not going to be easy — you’ll have bad days medically and emotionally — but you can do this. Listen to your body and know when you have to say no.” — Amanda
“Your children will always see you as superhuman; even when you’re at your worst.” — Amanda L.
You can do this. There’s no shame in asking for help. - Amanda B.
You can do it! - Anonymous IBD Mommy
“Be gentle on yourself. There is no perfect parenting, so don’t spend any energy feeling bad about having IBD.” — Megan