Welcome to the Preconception and Pregnancy in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinical Research Program

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic bowel diseases (including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) that affects men and women in their young reproductive years of life. It is often challenging for patients with IBD and their health care providers to manage IBD during pregnancy as they may have concerns about the effects of IBD and IBD treatments on pregnancy and the child.

Dr. Vivian Huang, University of Alberta Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic, initiated the specialized Preconception and Pregnancy in IBD clinical research program in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to develop ways to optimize maternal and neonatal/offspring outcomes by identifying and addressing knowledge gaps. The program aims to study the complex interaction between pregnancy and IBD, and effects of IBD and IBD therapies on maternal and neonatal/offspring outcomes, in order find ways to optimize the management of IBD during pregnancy.

The Preconception and Pregnancy in IBD clinical research program consists of …

1) Clinic:
This is a concurrent care clinic, meaning patients who have gastroenterologists continue to see their gastroenterologists, but they can participate in this clinic and associated research in parallel.  This specialized clinic provides the following clinical consultation services:

  • clinical IBD monitoring and management during pre-conception, pregnancy, peri-partum, and post-partum
  • education regarding the effects of IBD and medications on fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding
  • liaison with high risk obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine at the Royal Alexandra Hospital
  • access to an IBD dietician consultation.

2) Translational research program:
This “bench to bedside” research program includes studies that aim to help clinicians:

  • understand the complex interactions between pregnancy and IBD in order to optimize the management of IBD during pregnancy
  • understand the influence of maternal IBD and IBD therapy on their newborns and children.

3) Knowledge translation program:
We are conducting studies assessing patient and health care provider knowledge, concerns, and beliefs, in order to identify knowledge gaps.  We have designed the Improving Knowledge of Reproductive Issues in Inflammatory Bowel Disease web portal study in order to develop and assess the web portal as a means to provide information and interact with patients and health care providers.