Cystic fibrosis ( CF) and pregnancy
What is cystic fibrosis (CF) ?
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that affects breathing and digestion. This lifelong disease is caused by very thick mucus build up in the body.
Mucus is a fluid that coats and protects parts of the body. It is usually slippery and slightly thicker than water. However in CF, this mucus is thicker and sticky. It builds up in the lungs and digestive system causing problems with breathing and digestion.
What causes cystic fibrosis ?
This condition is inherited, which means it is passed on from parents to offsprings through genes. You have to inherit the CF gene from both parents to have the disease. If you inherit it from just one parent, you are a carrier. This means you have the gene for cystic fibrosis but don’t have the disease.
Can you pass on CF to your children ?
Yes, your baby will have CF if both parents have the disease. If both parents are carriers, there is
- 3-in-4 chance (75 percent) that your baby won’t have CF
- 1-in-2 chance (50 percent) that your child won’t have CF but will be a CF carrier
- 1-in-4 chance (25 percent) that your child will have CF
- 1-in-4 chance (25 percent) that your child will not have CF and not be a carrier
How can I find out if I am carrier ?
There are two tests that can help you find out if you are a carrier. Both tests are safe during pregnancy. These tests are :
- blood test
- a swab of cells inside your mouth.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that health care providers make CF carrier screening available to all couples. This test is usually part of routine prenatal testing during early pregnancy.
How do I know if my baby has cystic fibrosis ?
You can have the following prenatal tests to find out if your baby has cystic fibrosis or is a carrier.
- chorionic villus sampling CVS
What is the effect of CF during pregnancy ?
Even though most women with cystic fibrosis can get pregnant, some few percentage of women have problems conceiving. Some men with a mutation in the same gene responsible for CF may be infertile. Talk to a genetic counsellor if you and your partner are having fertility issues.
Women with cystic fibrosis are at increased risk of gestational diabetes.
How is CF treated during pregnancy ?
If you have cystic fibrosis and are thinking of getting pregnant, talk to your health care provider. You need to be monitored during pregnancy by your health care provider and other specialists experienced with CF.
Cystic fibrosis and pregnancy. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/cystic-fibrosis-and-pregnancy.aspx. Accessed December 27, 2014
Carrier Testing for CF. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. http://www.cff.org/AboutCF/Testing/Genetics/GeneticCarrierTest/. Accessed December 27, 2014