UC and Pregnancy: Eating Well to Gain the Right Amount of Weight
Supplementing Your Ulcerative Colitis Pregnancy Diet
Whether you are trying to conceive or are already pregnant, your diet is
going to need a little boost from a vitamin supplement.
"All women considering conception should be started on a prenatal vitamin,
and our patients are no different," says Uma Mahadevan, MD, director of
clinical research at the Center for Colitis and Crohn's Disease and associate
professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
A daily prenatal vitamin can also help replace nutrients you lose through
Ask your doctor whether you need additional supplements if you're not
getting enough of certain nutrients. Vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and
magnesium deficiencies are all common in people with IBD.
You may also need extra folic acid, because UC and some medications you may
take for it make it harder for your body to absorb folic acid.
People with ulcerative colitis are more prone to developing anemia, a lack
of red blood cells that can be caused by an iron deficiency. So getting extra
iron is essential. But sometimes the iron in prenatal vitamins can bother women
"For patients who have active ulcerative colitis – patients who are flaring
– taking iron can be very stressful on the digestive system," Mahadevan says.
Keep trying different vitamin formulations until you find one you can
Pregnancy and UC: Gaining Weight
Some women with ulcerative colitis struggle to stay at the recommended
weight for their height. Being underweight may increase the risk of giving
birth to an underweight baby.
What's healthy? If you were at a normal weight when you got pregnant, you
should aim to gain 25 to 35 pounds during your pregnancy. Increase that to 28
to 40 pounds if you started out your pregnancy underweight.
Instead of trying to eat three big meals a day, eat five smaller meals to
make it easier on your digestive system. If you have to avoid certain foods
because they seem to cause ulcerative colitis symptoms, ask a dietitian to help
you make the healthiest choices from the foods you are able to eat.
It will be much easier for you to attain a healthy weight if you start your
pregnancy off right. "If women who have ulcerative colitis are considering
getting pregnant, it's always best to try to get their disease into remission
before they seriously try," Mikolaitis says.
When your symptoms are under control, it's easier for you to eat well. And
the better you eat, the better it will be for your ulcerative colitis and your
chances of having a healthy pregnancy.