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Original research
Provision of care for pregnant women with IBD in the UK: the current landscape


Introduction Suboptimal control of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can result in increased rates of adverse pregnancy-related outcomes. We aimed to describe the current landscape of provision of antenatal care for women with IBD in the UK.

Methods This cross-sectional survey collected data on service setup; principles of care pre-conception, during pregnancy and post partum; and on perceived roles and responsibilities of relevant clinicians.

Results Data were provided for 97 IBD units. Prepregnancy counselling was offered mostly on request only (54%) and in an ad hoc manner. In 86% of units, IBD antenatal care was provided by the patient’s usual gastroenterologist, rather than a gastroenterologist with expertise in pregnancy (14%). Combined clinics with obstetricians and gastroenterologists were offered in 14% of units (24% academic vs 7% district hospitals; p=0.043). Communication with obstetrics was ‘as and when required’ in 51% and 30% of IBD units reviewed pregnant women with IBD ‘only when required’. The majority of respondents thought gastroenterologists should be involved in decisions regarding routine vaccinations (70%), breast feeding (80%), folic acid dosage (61%) and venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis (53%). Sixty-five per cent of respondents thought that gastroenterologists should be involved in decisions around mode of delivery and 30% recommended caesarean sections for previous but healed perianal disease.

Conclusions This nationwide survey found considerable variation in IBD antenatal services. We identified deficiencies in service setup, care provided by IBD units and clinician knowledge. A basic framework to inform service setup, and better education on the available clinical guidance, is required to ensure consistent high-quality multidisciplinary care.

  • ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn's disease

Data availability statement

No data are available. No data are available for public sharing.

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