One of the most important things that women with CF should consider regarding pregnancy, is their overall health. Pregnancy, even in healthy women, can pose serious health risks. Women with CF who have mild forms of the disease as indicated by high FEV1 and excellent nutritional status, are better suited to carry a pregnancy to term. Additionally, some of the maintenance medications required to keep CF exacerbations from occurring may be harmful to a growing fetus and must be forgone during pregnancy.
As cystic fibrosis patients are surviving well into adulthood, many are concerned about the aspects of family planning. The following is an excerpt from an article discussing the complications and risks of pregnancy in cystic fibrosis.
Mothers with FEV1 above 80% and no Burkholderia cepacia infection have better outcomes, fewer operative and instrumental deliveries, fewer preterm infants, and fewer neonatal complications than mothers with more serious disease.
Most adults with CF are aware of their shortened life expectancy and the implications of this for parenting. Such issues as long-term plans for children if the mother dies should be addressed.
It has been suggested that women with lung disease may be unable to meet the demands of pregnancy and find their disease adversely affected and be at increased risk of complications.The pregnant group had a significant decrease in both %FEV 1 and %FVC during pregnancy but the rate of decline was equal to the controls at 1 and 2 years thereafter and hospitalisation rates were similar. However, there was a significant reduction in the Brasfield radiographic score in the pregnant group and one mother died 6 months postpartum. Although the group means were not significantly different, in two cases there was a significant deterioration out of keeping with their prepregnant status and the authors concluded that certain individuals were adversely affected by pregnancy.