Inflammatory Bowel Disease clinic seeks to ease burdens for pregnant women

Mar. 12, 2013

(Calgary, Alberta) March 12, 2013… Clinician researchers from the Alberta Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Consortium are offering help to expecting women who suffer from IBD. A new clinic at the Foothills Medical Centre has opened to offer advice, counseling, and specialized care for women with IBD who are pregnant or are looking to become pregnant.

Drs. Yvette Leung and Cynthia Seow started the clinic in Calgary to address the specific concerns that women with IBD might have about their disease and pregnancy. IBD hinders the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and many IBD patients require drugs to manage their disease, both of which could potentially impact a developing fetus.

The two physicians partnered to offer their expertise to expecting mothers and mothers to be, and to conduct the first Canadian study to explore how IBD affects the health of the mother and baby during pregnancy. Drs. Leung and Seow will be looking at changes to the immune system for expecting mothers and how a pregnant woman’s body makes use of the drugs that they are taking to control their IBD.

Inflammatory bowel disease consists primarily of two types: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD is an autoimmune disease where the body’s own defenses, the immune system, attack the digestive system. Canada has one of the world’s highest incidences of IBD. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada estimates that approximately 170,000 Canadian men, women and children have IBD. Of these, 20% will require hospitalization within the next year. IBD afflicts people in the prime of their lives, often in their reproductive years, between the ages of 15–25 or from 45–55.

The Alberta IBD Consortium is a team of clinical doctors and research scientists with a mission to improve the lives of inflammatory bowel disease patients and their families and reduce the impact of IBD on the health system by better understanding the causes and determinants of IBD. Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions and Alberta Health and Wellness provide up to $5 million dollars over five years to teams like the Alberta IBD Consortium who are looking to make a difference in the lives of Albertans.

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