Offspring of IBD Mothers More Susceptible to Certain Diseases


Children of mothers with IBD are also more likely to be underdeveloped in height and weight compared to the control group.

Hyeong Sik Ahn

Hyeong Sik Ahn

Mothers with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are more likely to give birth to children with autoimmune diseases or those who are underdeveloped, according to new research.

A team, led by Hyeong Sik Ahn, Department of Preventative Medicine, Medical School, Korea University assessed the long-term influence of maternal IBD on disease, growth, and development of offspring in Korea.

A Lack of Research

Much of the research on reproductive women with IBD has focused mostly on short-term outcomes and not long-term health outcomes of the children, mainly how parental IBD influences growth and development in children.

In the study, presented at the Crohn’s and Colitis Congress 2022 Annual Meeting, the investigators analyzed data from the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) database. This database covers the entire South Korea population of 50 million individuals.

The investigators used this to develop a mother-child database to track healthcare utilization for the offspring.

The team linked National Health Screening for Infant and Children database, which included growth and development information to NHIS data for a subset of the population.

Included in the analysis were patients with IBD who had given live singleton births and their offspring between 2002-2018.

The investigators investigated the association between maternal IBD and selected disease categories including neurodevelopmental disorders, metabolic, autoimmune, and allergic conditions through follow-up data up to year 15.

They also assessed the association to growth and development, including the height and weight of the children up to 71 months of age.

Overall, 3 million women gave birth in South Korea during the study period, 5191 of which had IBD. Of this group, there were 7230 children, who the investigators matched with a non-IBD control group 10 times larger.

Similar Mortality Rates

The mortality rate did not significantly differ between the IBD group and the control group (P >0.05). However, there was a higher risk of autoimmune disease (RR, 1.5) in the IBD cohort. However, there was no significant increased risk identified in neurodevelopmental disorders and metabolic diseases in IBD offspring compared to the control group.

After conducting a multivariate analysis, the investigators found children born to IBD mothers had a high risk of IBD development (RR, 8.1) compared to the control group. On the other hand, there were no higher risk for several other diseases, including autism spectrum disorder, bronchial asthma, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Growth Issues

For growth, individuals less than 3 percentiles in weight and height at 71 months were more common in IBD offspring (RR, 1.53 for weight; RR, 1.25 for height). Among IBD offspring, 5.14% and

4.25% children showed growth failure in weight and height, respectively, which was higher than the 3.40% and 2.78% of children in the non-IBD offspring cohort.

“From the largest study that ever researched on the health offspring of IBD parents, we found the evidence of poor long-term morbidity regarding autoimmune diseases, but not in neurodevelopmental disorders,” the authors wrote. “Offspring have a higher risk of developing IBD and growth failure up to age of 6.”


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