Herbalgerbal, thanks for your post. That's a fair question that we wrestled with for about 2 &1/2 years as we contemplated this pregnancy. I've been advised that I'm on my current cocktail of drugs as a permanent solution, or until modern medicine makes something better available, or until I have surgery.
My first flare came during the 3rd trimester of my second pregnancy (I didn't know I had UC), so unfortunately I am aware of the reality of what can happen if I go off my meds while pregnant. It wasn't pretty then, and I'm incredibly lucky to still have delivered a premature, but ultimately very healthy, little boy. I entered the pregnancy weighing about 125 lbs, and weighed 128 the day I delivered due to the nasty nature of my flare. I spent a good portion of the last week sitting in the bathtub. I couldn't keep anything in my body, it all came out a mix of water and blood within about 10 minutes of eating or drinking anything.
My husband and I discussed our situation at length with a number of different doctors: high risk OB's, GI's, and pediatricians, and also my own internist and a number of people in research fields. Full disclosure: my husband is an internist, so we did a lot of emailing friends from med school and residency, and using them as contacts to talk to doctors all over the country.
Ultimately, I discovered that the biggest risk to any pregnancy for me was a UC flare, not any of the medications I was taking. Flares while pregnant are notoriously difficult to control, and I was at risk to either get myself wickedly sick or lose the baby. All of the medicines I take do pose a slight risk to the fetus. I think I read everything on medline, and discovered that the scariest drug, imuran, poses mostly risks of an early miscarriage. Women who got babies to term on imuran had the same # of healthy babies as non-imuran moms.
For what it's worth, I did have a miscarriage in fall '08 when I was around 7 weeks pregnant. I don't know if the imuran was the cause, or if, like many early pregnancies, it just "wasn't meant to be."
We have entered this pregnancy with a lot of anxiety, but as each week and test roll by with good news, I feel more and more confident that we made the right decision. This was not something we entered lightly, and I know a lot of other people are out there that are still in the "asking questions" phase. I didn't think enough positive stories were out there, hence this thread.
(and Lynn, congrats on your little mister! We have two boys and I adore them. You're in for a treat!)
Pancolitis, diagnosed July 2006, at age 29
(Colonoscopy January 2008 showed active disease just in sigmoid and below!)
Imuran & colazol daily; Rowasa and/or canasa rectal meds as needed for maintenence
Currently pregnant-due October 2009