Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term for the inflammatory disorders of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Dr Paris Tekkis and colleagues from England re-analyzed 12 studies published over the past 20 years.
These studies assessed the impact of IBD on pregnancy and birth.
In all, the dozen studies, drawn from an extensive search of published material, involved almost 4000 women with IBD.
The researchers compared this data to more than 320, 000 people without the condition.
Around 75% of the women had Crohn's disease, the remainder had ulcerative colitis.
|Women with IBD were 2 times as likely to have a cesarean section|
The researchers showed that women with IBD were almost twice as likely to have a child born prematurely.
The team noted that these women were also more than twice as likely to have a child born below normal weight.
Premature and low birthweight babies run the risk of developmental problems, and a greater likelihood of serious chronic illness.
The team observed that women with IBD were 2 times as likely to have had a cesarean section as their healthy peers, especially those with Crohn's disease.
The rate of congenital birth defects in babies born to mothers with IBD was more than twice as high.
Dr Tekkis' team concludes, “If a woman becomes pregnant during an active bout of disease the risks of pregnancy complications are likely to be greater.”