No Link Between Chronic Pancreatitis and Adverse Outcomes in Pregnancy

A pregnant woman and her doctor are indoors in a medical center. The woman is holding her stomach while the doctor writes information on a clipboard.
Researchers examined the bidirectional effects of chronic pancreatitis (CP) and pregnancy, specifically if CP would have an effect on pregnancy and vice versa.

The presence of chronic pancreatitis (CP) is not associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.

Researchers conducted a retrospective study at a single-center institution in India. Women aged 18 years and older, who had at least 1 conception following a diagnosis of CP, were included. A total of 46 patients with CP were matched by age to 115 control group participants without CP, who had a pregnancy classified as low-risk. During pregnancy, patients with CP received acetaminophen as needed for CP-related pain management. Opioids and pancreatic enzymes were used on a case-by-case basis. All patients received vitamin supplementation.

The study assessed the rate of pregnancy-related outcomes, including spontaneous abortions, stillbirth, preterm deliveries, and C-section. The effect of pregnancy on CP-related pain was also reviewed.

Patients with CP vs the low-risk control group participants had a comparable rate of spontaneous abortion (21% vs. 11%; P =.087) and stillbirth (4.9% vs. 4.3%; P =.88). Preterm delivery (14.6% vs. 10.4%; P =.47) and C-section delivery (36.6% vs. 34%; P =.849) rates were also similar between the 2 groups. Pregnancy resulted in a statistically significant reduction in CP-associated pain, with nearly all patients classified as being usually pain-free but with episodes of mild to moderate pain.

Study limitations included the relatively small sample size and single geographic location.

“CP is not associated with increased risk [for] adverse pregnancy outcomes as compared with low-risk pregnancies,” the study authors wrote. “Most of our patients were … idiopathic in nature and in [the] early course of disease … Another important finding of this study was that pregnancy [had a] sobering effect on the pain because of CP during pregnancy and complications related to CP.”


Rana A, Sharma S, Qamar S, et al. Chronic pancreatitis in females is not associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. J Clin Gastroenterol. Published online April 25, 2022. doi:10.1097/MCG.0000000000001711