Identifying Patient Priorities for Preconception and Pregnancy Counseling in IBD

Aiya Aboubakr, Alexa Rae Riggs, Darwin Jimenez, Maria Teresa Mella, Marla C. Dubinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) commonly affects women of reproductive age. Many patients lacking knowledge about IBD and reproduction make uninformed decisions, such as voluntary childlessness and medication cessation. Education should be individualized to the patient’s knowledge base and include topics of most importance to the patient. Our study aimed to describe the priority rankings of topics selected by patients seeking preconception and pregnancy counseling. Methods: As part of an ongoing prospective study, patients with IBD were asked to rank, in order of importance, nine a priori preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum topics they would like addressed by our specialized care team, which includes an IBD physician and a high-risk obstetrician. χ2 and Fisher’s exact tests were used to assess associations between clinical and demographic characteristics and priority rankings, and a p value cutoff for significance was set as.05. Results: One hundred and fifty-eight women with IBD (mean (IQR) age; 32 (28–37) years) were seen in consultation, and 116 (70 (60%) CD, 43 (37%) UC, and 3 (3%) IBD-U) completed intake forms were analyzed. There were 78 (68%) women seen in the preconception stage, median age 31 (IQR 28–34), and 38 women (32%) were pregnant, median age 32 (IQR 28–33). Safety of IBD medications during pregnancy was most commonly ranked as top priority (40%) for all patients regardless of pregnancy status, followed by control of IBD disease activity and impact on pregnancy (31%), impact of IBD and surgery on fertility (19%), pregnancy outcomes for the baby (18%), mode of delivery (6%), inheritance of IBD (4%), breastfeeding (2%), nutritional health (2%), and vaccines and newborn care (1%). The impact of IBD and surgery on fertility was ranked as the number one priority more often in the preconception group (p value < 0.01) and mode of delivery in the pregnancy group (p value 0.04). Conclusion: Safety of IBD medications remains a priority topic for patients seeking preconception and pregnancy counseling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1829-1835
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Anti-TNF
  • IBD
  • Preconception
  • Pregnancy


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