Always Staying on Top of Your Disease, Especially During Pregnancy
I am excited to announce that I am due with my second child in December of this year. Our daughter will turn 2 in September, so having two little ones running around in a few months is making me both excited and scared, wondering how I am going to be able to do it all, especially during the first few weeks when sleep is hard to come by.
There is no "winging it" with IBD
However, one of the more reassuring aspects of expecting our second child is that I have learned a lot after having the first. I made the "rookie mistakes" the first time around, but it is nice to know that I have a bit of a handle on what to expect both during pregnancy and postpartum.
Being as prepared as possible is always important, and a life lesson I learned while living with Crohn's. The concept of "winging it" is not a luxury we can often enjoy, and being pregnant and raising children is no exception.
Preparing for pregnancy with Crohn's
Being pregnant with Crohn's means planning even before you get pregnant. With both my first and current pregnancy, I got a colonoscopy the month before we wanted to start trying just to be sure everything looked OK and that I was not at risk for flaring.
While I was successful with my colonoscopy prior to conceiving my first, this time around was a little more complicated. My calprotectin had been creeping up slightly over the previous 3 months, but I was hopeful that my colonoscopy would show no cause for concern. Unfortunately, I had developed ulcers in my small intestine which meant that my Stelara was not working as well as it had been previously.
I had already increased the frequency in which I was administering my Stelara, so I asked my GI if I could go back on Entyvio (which I was on a few years ago and it put me in remission) rather than trying to adjust the dosage of my current medication, hoping it would improve my condition. She agreed, and within 2 weeks I had my first Entyvio infusion.
Changing medication before pregnancy
I felt confident that the medication change to Entyvio would do the trick in eliminating my ulcers and reducing my calprotectin levels, so my husband and I decided to start trying to conceive upon receiving my first Entyvio dose. Luckily, I found out I was pregnant 2 days before my third infusion and I have been feeling great since.
I also did a repeat fecal calprotectin test and my levels dropped from 95 to 47 over the last 3 months. I am headed in the right direction, and I am confident my disease will continue to improve throughout this pregnancy.
Being prepared is key with Crohn's
The moral of the story is to always be prepared. Had I not scheduled my colonoscopy prior to conceiving, I potentially could have risked flaring during pregnancy or soon after delivering – both of which would have been less than ideal.
Living with Crohn's means always being one step ahead of the disease and staying on top of it, even when you think everything is going smoothly. Things can change in a second, and life happens too fast to be slowed down by our disease.
How open are you about being diagnosed with IBD?