When I was newly pregnant and said to my OB/GYN, “I have celiac”—I always feel the need to point this out, even though it’s in my medical file—she didn’t say anything. That’s how I remember it anyway. Perhaps she addressed celiac vaguely while moving along with the appointment. In truth, I wasn’t too worried. I’d exhaustively researched celiac and reproductive health for my master’s thesis two years earlier. I knew if I was careful with my gluten-free diet, odds were in my favor for a healthy pregnancy. But I wondered: was my OB/GYN really not concerned? Or was she unfamiliar with celiac disease and even less acquainted with its potential impact on pregnancy?

That was 2007. My “baby” is now rapidly approaching kindergarten. Since her arrival, several important studies on celiac and reproductive health have been published. One notable study was presented last fall at the American College of Gastroenterology’s annual Scientific Meeting. In the study, 1,000 women (some with celiac, some without) were surveyed online about their fertility and pregnancy experiences. More celiac women said they’d had difficulty conceiving and had seen a fertility specialist or been treated for infertility. More celiac women also said they’d experienced spontaneous abortions (miscarriages). This was particularly true before their celiac diagnoses.

In a press release, the study’s lead author Stephanie Moleski, MD, said: “…In some women, infertility and pregnancy complications may be the first sign of celiac disease. This is a very important aspect of women’s health. Both physicians and patients must be aware of the association between celiac and reproductive performance so that treatment with a gluten-free diet can be initiated early and complications can be avoided.”

Is your OB/GYN up-to-date on the implications of celiac disease?