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21-02-2010 | Gastroenterology | Article

Asian women with UC at risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes


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MedWire News: Asian women with ulcerative colitis (UC) are at an increased risk for having preterm and low-birthweight babies, research shows.

"We suggest that clinicians should inform women with UC of the potential risks in terms of birth outcomes before planning conception," write Yi-Hua Chen (Taipei Medical University, Taiwan) and colleagues in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

The onset of UC occurs around the age of reproduction in women, and past studies have shown that women with inflammatory bowel disease are at an increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, but the data are inconsistent and largely reported for women of European descent.

In this study, the researchers assessed the risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes in 196 Asian women diagnosed with UC 2 years before their index deliveries.

Overall, 12.8% of women with UC had children with low birthweight, significantly more than the 5.6% of women without UC who had low-birthweight babies. Also, 11.7% of those with UC and 6.3% of those without UC had preterm births, again a statistically significant difference.

After adjusting for multiple variables, UC patients were 2.36 times more likely to have a low-birthweight baby and 1.90 times more likely to have a preterm birth than unaffected women.

"Our findings were consistent with six out of seven published studies conducted in different regions that documented a positive association between UC and preterm risk," write Chen and colleagues.

The mechanism by which UC causes adverse pregnancy outcomes is unclear, the researchers say, noting that nutritional deficiencies might be one possible cause.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By MedWire Reporters