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Cystic Fibrosis and Pregnancy

Mon, 12/28/2015 - 10:15 -- IV Solutions

Learn about Cystic Fibrosis and pregnancy with IV Solutions today. How will cystic fibrosis affect my pregnancy? Can I pass cystic fibrosis on to my child?

What is CF? – Causes

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. When you have CF, your body creates thicker mucus, which damages organs over time. Because it is genetic, it isn’t contagious but is something people are born with.

In the United States, about 1 in 31 people carry the gene mutation that causes CF. For a child to be born with CF, both parents must be carriers. When two CF gene carriers have a child, there is a 1 in 4 chance of the child being born with CF. It is recommended that anyone hoping to conceive be tested as a CF carrier, even if they have no family history of the disease.

Researchers continue to look for a cure, but the symptoms of CF are treatable. Care for CF focuses on keeping the airway clear, preventing and treating infection, avoiding dehydration, and getting proper nutrition. In recent years, advances in therapies and medications have increased the length and quality of life for people with CF.

Being pregnant with CF

Many women with cystic fibrosis can and do become pregnant. Pregnancy does not generally cause increased health problems for women with CF who have good lung function. Still, there are steps you need to take to reduce risk and encourage a positive outcome for you and your baby.

Before trying to conceive, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will refer you to proper specialists and make sure your medications are safe for pregnancy. Your partner will need to be screened to check for CF carrier status with a blood test or by having a cotton swab rubbed against the inside of the cheek to get cells.

If your partner is not a carrier, the baby will not be born with CF. If your partner is a carrier, there is a 1 in 2 chance of the baby having cystic fibrosis. The fetus can be tested for CF at about 12 weeks. If you know before conceiving that your partner is a carrier, there are reproduction options to help make sure the child is born without cystic fibrosis.It is important to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. Because this is already a challenge for women with CF, it is important for you to meet with your cystic fibrosis dietician before trying to conceive. By eating right and taking the recommended supplements, you are much more likely to stay healthy and deliver a healthy baby.

You may experience greater difficulty with the usual digestion problems of pregnancy such as indigestion, acid reflux, vomiting, and constipation. It is also common for women with CF to develop gestational diabetes by about 28 weeks into the pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can be treated with diet and medication, and should go away after the pregnancy. It is also possible for lung condition to go down during pregnancy but improve afterward.

Following delivery, it is not uncommon to see the mother’s health decline because of the demands of a new baby. It is important for you to talk with your CF care team to make a treatment plan that will help you and your baby stay healthy.

Health statistics of pregnant women with Cystic Fibrosis

According to a 2006 study of women with cystic fibrosis, those who were pregnant experienced the same level of health and lung function as women who were not pregnant. It was not unusual to see increased lung problems during pregnancy, but this did not affect the mother in the long term.

Statistics of CF and carriers in the womb

If both parents are CF carriers, there is a:

  • 1 in 4 chance of the baby having CF (25%)
  • 1 in 4 chance of the baby not having CF and not being a carrier (25%)
  • 2 in 4 chance of the baby not having CF but being a carrier (50%)

If one parent has cystic fibrosis and the other is a carrier, there is a:

  • 1 in 2 chance of the baby not having CF but being a carrier (50%)
  • 1 in 2 chance of the baby having CF (50%)

If one parent has cystic fibrosis and the other is not a carrier, the child will not have CF.


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