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.   There are many significant knowledge gaps both in clinical practice and in translational medicine.

The Preconception and Pregnancy in IBD clinical research program was developed in 2013 by Dr. Vivian Huang (University of Alberta) in order to find 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 is now a joint venture between University of Alberta and University of Toronto, as Dr. Vivian Huang initiates the program in Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario (2017).

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
  • 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.

The information from these studies will help researchers to understand the interaction between mother and infant, the impact of microbiome, the early months to years of life, and hopefully help researchers find ways to reduce risks for developing chronic diseases such as IBD.


3) Knowledge translation program
The Improving Knowledge of Reproductive Issues in Inflammatory Bowel Disease web portal study to develop and assess the web portal as a means to provide information and interact with patients and health care providers is now complete (2017).  The educational modules are now available through the Information page.

We are currently developing other educational tools for patients with IBD and their families and health care providers, to help them make informed decisions regarding the management of IBD before, during, and after pregnancy.  Please keep checking the website for updates on the new studies.