Chronic Style

A blog about living stylishly with a few chronic illnesses.

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Image by Maria Fabrizio via NPR

Image by Maria Fabrizio via NPR

A coordinator from UCSF let me know about this piece on National Public Radio (NPR) that talks a bit about the study I’ve been involved with for years. As with even the most healthy of pregnancies, there is always a level of uncertainty and anxiety that comes with the territory. It’s very refreshing to see that this is becoming a bigger part of the discussion when it comes to the complications of staying healthy when pregnant while still on medication.

As someone who was in remission and able to give birth to an incredibly healthy and thriving boy (while staying on my medicine), I couldn’t be prouder of the work Dr. Uma Mahadevan is doing. Listen to (or read) the full piece here: When Pregnant Women Need Medicine, They Encounter a Void.

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(Yep, it’s been over three months since I blogged so let me apologize for that first and foremost. New year, new resolution — we’ll see how I do!)

The big news: at the end of November, I gave birth to a baby boy, Kai. Throughout the 10-month stretch, I remained pretty quiet about my pregnancy in terms of my illnesses. As you can imagine, we — my husband and I — were cautiously optimistic going into everything and only made the decision to try for a baby after many tests and gaining the consent of many doctors. Knock on wood, everything went incredibly well. Kai was born at full term weighing 8 lbs 3 oz, 22.75 inches (very tall!) and his Apgar score was near perfect.

Over the next few months of maternity leave, it is my hope to reflect upon the experience of going through pregnancy and childbirth being “high-risk” and maintaining my health while remaining on Cimzia. For any of you wondering, Cimzia is a class B drug (in the same category as Benadryl and Pepcid).

I’m also involved in a study with Cimzia + pregnancy and have already received some of the results from the first round of tests. Here’s the initial great news and I’ll share more as I receive it: a blood draw of the baby’s blood just after birth (literally, minutes after birth), as well as the cord blood, showed no traces of Cimzia. My own blood showed very low traces of the drug, but I wasn’t so concerned with my own draw as you can imagine.

When making the decision to remain on Cimzia, I’d been told that because of the size of the molecules in the drug, it would not cross the placenta. It wasn’t until I was informed of the results of my own tests that I truly believed it. To say I was relieved would be the understatement of the century.

As always, it’s important to know that I’m not a doctor by any stretch of the imagination. I am however a very resourceful and proactive patient. During my pregnancy I was constantly searching for examples of women who’d had babies while on Cimzia and did not uncover much. So if you’ve found this post because you too are searching for answers, please feel free to reach out to me directly and I can hopefully point you in the right direction!

Happy new year Chronic Stylers and stay tuned.

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Finally, some good news for women with IBD: a study of 1100 women taking both biologics and immunomodulators found that the treatments are safe to use during pregnancy.

“This is very exciting news for women since we know the use of medication during pregnancy garners great concern for both the patient and the physician,” said Uma Mahadevan, MD, member of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s Clinical Research Alliance and Associate Professor of Medicine, University of California, Center for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, San Francisco. “We need to educate women and the physicians that care for them that the biggest risk during pregnancy is a disease flare, not the medication.”

I don’t know what makes me happier, the outcome or the fact that Dr. Mahadevan works with my doctor. I think both. More at CCFA.org/news.

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