The New Year is often a time for resolutions, setting goals and embarking on life-changes. For women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who are considering becoming pregnant, however, the start of a new year can be a time of frustration, confusion and fear about how their disease may impact their ability to have a healthy pregnancy. To change this, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) will launch the IBD Parenthood Project, which includes a new online resource, aiming to address misperceptions and fears women with IBD and their health care providers (HCPs) experience throughout all phases of family planning in January 2019.
Many women with IBD decide not to have children based on misperceptions about their disease and pregnancy. In fact, the number of women with IBD who are voluntarily childless is three times greater than that of the general population. For these women, one of the greatest known risks to a healthy pregnancy is an IBD flare, yet many are unsure of whether medication is appropriate to take during pregnancy. In fact, a recent survey by AGA of 286 women in the U.S. diagnosed with IBD who are trying to conceive, are pregnant, or have had a child in the past 12 months revealed:
- 65% disagreed or were unsure that IBD medications were safe to use during pregnancy.
- 57% have worried about medication harming their baby.
- Over half rarely or never discussed their diagnosis with their obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) during preconception planning.
The new online resource, set to launch in January 2019, will provide answers to common questions related to IBD and pregnancy, as well as a downloadable patient toolkit that features visual and patient-friendly information. Resources include easy-to-digest lists of key questions to ask your provider as you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, a flow diagram outlining the various HCPs potentially involved in a patient’s care, a guide to postnatal care and provider locator tools. These tools are a direct response to survey findings that reported women with IBD want more and better information about managing their disease.
Patients are encouraged to visit www.IBDparenthoodproject.org