crohns disease

This is what pregnancy is like when you live with inflammatory bowel disease

Hattie Gladwell for


When I was 19 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease. I underwent surgery to have my large intestine removed, and I lived with an ileostomy bag – and a stoma – for around 10 months.

I later went on to have it reversed, where my small bowel was connected to my rectum in order for me to use the toilet ‘normally again’.

But having had these surgeries, I have faced some repercussions.

I was told that with each surgery, more and more adhesion would be created around my stomach, which would ultimately reduce my chances of conceiving in the future. I was told I would likely need IVF to conceive at all.

As scary as this is, miracles do happen – and it seems they’ve happened for many people who have been through my situation.

There are many women living with IBD who have gone on to conceive – there are even women who have faced similar surgeries to mine who now have very healthy, happy children.

And I decided to speak to them, to find out more about their pregnancies, what to expect when you’re pregnant while suffering with IBD and what words of advice they had for any woman hoping to conceive after dealing with IBD.

Here’s what they said.

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