An IBD Biologic Does Not Increase Woman’s Risk of Birth Problem, Study Finds

An IBD Biologic Does Not Increase Woman’s Risk of Birth Problem, Study Finds
Women who take biologics for autoimmune disorders either three months before or during their pregnancy are not at higher risk of a preterm birth or having a smaller than normal child, a Canadian study reports. It applied to a range of autoimmune disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Researchers published their study in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. The title is “Risk of preterm delivery and small-for-gestational age births in women with autoimmune disease using biologics before or during pregnancy: a populationbased cohort study.” Autoimmune disorders are characterized by dysfunction of pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines and chemokines, which regulate immune activity. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha is one of the key cytokines in this process. Abnormally high levels of TNF-alpha have been associated with pregnancy complications, including preterm births, slower fetus growth, and miscarriages. Overall, the evidence suggests that higher autoimmune disease activity at conception or during pregnancy may increase the risk of a problem in a mother who gives birth or her newborn. Pregnant women with autoimmune diseases have been increasingly using medications that target crucial inflammatory cytokines — including TNF-alpha — that could affect births. But studies on whether these treatments can cause birth problems have used small samples and have had control-group design limitations. In addition, most did not adjust for differences in participants' diseases before the research started. This prompted a Canadian team to look at whether b
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