Coeliac disease and pregnancy

Coeliac disease and pregnancy

If you have coeliac disease and become pregnant, it is very important that you follow your gluten-free diet strictly.  There are no increased risks for you or your baby, provided you follow a healthy gluten-free diet throughout your pregnancy.

Do I need to make any adjustments to my diet?

Much of the advice for women with coeliac disease is the same as for the general population.  You should aim to eat a healthy, balanced diet, including plenty of fruit and vegetables, alongside foods that are rich in calcium, iron and vitamin B12.  You may need to take supplements to boost your intake of these vitamins if you are unable to get sufficient amounts from the food you eat. You should ask a dietitian for advice if you think your diet might not be providing all the nutrients that you and your baby need.

The NHS recommends that all pregnant women take a folic acid supplement (400 micrograms a day) for three months prior to conception, until the twelfth week of pregnancy. However, the advice for women with coeliac disease is to take 5mg folic acid daily, this much higher dose will ensure that you are still absorbing  enough of this essential vitamin even if your gut shows signs of damage. This dosage of folic acid can’t be bought over the counter and will need to be prescribed by your doctor or gastroenterologist. It’s important that you stay in regular contact with your healthcare team throughout your pregnancy so that your health and nutritional status can be monitored. 

 

What if I have coeliac disease?  Will I pass the condition on to my child?

If you have coeliac disease there is an increased chance that your baby may also develop the condition. In the general population, 1 in 100 people have coeliac disease, if you are coeliac yourself the chances of your baby also having the condition increase to 1 in 10. 

Advice for parents with coeliac disease is the same as the general population.  Infants should be weaned on to a variety solid foods at around 6 months of age, gluten can be introduced from 6 months and should be offered regularly as part of a healthy, varied weaning diet. There is no reason to delay the introduction of gluten beyond 6 months.