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.

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 consists of:

Specialized Preconception and Pregnancy IBD Clinic

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

  • clinical IBD monitoring and management during pre-conception, pregnancy, peripartum, 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.

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.

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 this website.

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.