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Cystic Fibrosis and Pregnancy

Cystic fibrosis is a congenital abnormality that causes damage majorly to the lungs while also affects other organs including kidneys, pancreas, and intestines in the body. The disorder results in breathing and digestive issues to the individual.

The physiological condition of the person suffering from cystic fibrosis is that as a result of a defective gene, the fluids in the body including mucus, sweat and digestive juices become sticky and thick which then sticks up to ducts and airways ways especially in lungs causing difficulty in breathing.  

Cystic Fibrosis and Pregnancy

Most women with cystic fibrosis (CF) can get pregnant, however there are complications before and during the pregnancy and hence one needs to be aware on certain things.

Adequate management, careful monitoring, and working strictly with CF care team and obstetrician, mostly women with cystic fibrosis are able to have a successful pregnancy. But simultaneously, the unique stress that pregnancy places on the body can have severe implications for women with CF.

There is subsequent weakening of lung function and reduced nutrition associated with CF that can lead to multiple challenges like health complications and an increased treatment burden. Since pregnancy has its unique demands, it is advisable that women with CF to plan their pregnancies when they are as healthy as possible.

Commonly faced complications in women with CF and how to deal with them

While each pregnancy is different, there are few dysfunctions associated with CF which can result into certain complications for a CF pregnant woman. It is vital to talk with your CF care team and your obstetrician regularly during pregnancy to make sure that you and your baby attain the best of health.

  • Pulmonary exacerbations– Pulmonary exacerbations are a major consequence in CF which increases during pregnancy. Pulmonary exacerbations are usually treated with antibiotics. However various antibiotics are not allowed in pregnancy. Thus talk to your CF care team to prescribe you the right medicine and therapy.
  • Gestational Diabetes – Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that initiates during pregnancy and ceases off after the delivery. Diabetes has adverse effect on pregnancy. In women with CF, there is greater risk of gestational diabetes compared to women without CF, so speak to your obstetrician and CF care team about the kind of food and the workout you need to opt.
  • Inadequate nutrition – Women with CF struggle to maintain proper BMI and thus should take multivitamins to make up for it. 
  • Constipation – This is not an uncommon issue during pregnancy. However the rate is more in women with CF. Nevertheless stool softeners are available. You should speak to your obstetrician regarding the medicine you can use while pregnant.
  • Hypertension – Your CF care team and obstetrician collectively need to work on this to provide you proper treatment  for hypertension which is possible with different types of medicines.
  • Premature delivery – Some women with CF may deliver early i.e. 3 weeks before the due date. Depending upon the health status of baby and how early it is born, the baby is required to spend time in NICU which is not something to be scared off but neonatal intensive care unit which ensures smooth functioning of baby’s organs. 

So, gear up and take good care of your health before you plan for the next step.