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Tailored anti-TNF therapy during pregnancy in patients with IBD: maternal and fetal safety
  1. A de Lima1,
  2. Z Zelinkova1,2,
  3. C van der Ent1,
  4. E A P Steegers3,
  5. C J van der Woude1
  1. 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2IBD Center, Thalion, Bratislava, Slovakia
  3. 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to A de Lima, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, ‘s Gravendijkwal 230, Rotterdam 3015 CE, The Netherlands; a.delima{at}


Objective Antitumour necrosis factor (TNF) during pregnancy in patients with IBD is related to high fetal anti-TNF levels. We evaluated maternal and child safety on discontinuing anti-TNF in the second trimester of pregnancy.

Design Two groups of women with IBD were prospectively followed-up during pregnancy: women in sustained remission stopped anti-TNF before week 25 (stop group) and the remaining group continued anti-TNF beyond week 30 (continue group). Maternal, birth and 1-year child outcomes were compared with children of non-IBD women.

Results Overall, 106 patients with 83 completed pregnancies were included. Relapse rate after week 22 did not differ between the stop (n=51) and continue (n=32) groups (5 (9.8%) versus 5 (15.6%), p=0.14). There was no difference in allergic reactions (p=1.00) or loss of response (p=1.00) postpartum between the two groups. Birth outcomes were comparable. Infants from both groups had lower birth weight (p=0.001), shorter gestational term (p=0.0001), were more often delivered via caesarean section (p=0.0001) and were less often breastfed (p=0.0001) compared with infants from non-IBD controls. Growth, infection rate, allergies, eczema and adverse reactions to vaccines were comparable across the stop and the continue groups as well as the children of anti-TNF-exposed and non-IBD women at 1 year.

Conclusions To limit anti-TNF exposure in utero, anti-TNF can be stopped safely in the second trimester in women with IBD in sustained remission. In patients not in sustained remission, anti-TNF may be continued without clear additional risks to the fetus. We observed excellent 1-year child outcomes compared with children from non-IBD controls.

  • IBD

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