University of Calgary

University researchers start clinic to help expecting mothers

UToday HomeMarch 13, 2013

New ClinicFrom left: Krystal Laferriere, a pregnant mom who attends the IBD clinic, visits with Yvette Leung, a doctor and assistant professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine, and Cynthia Seow, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine.Clinician researchers are offering help to expecting women who suffer from Inflammatory bowel disease (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, both researchers at the University of Calgary, 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. 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 about 170,000 Canadian men, women and children have IBD. Of these, 20 per cent 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.


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