IBD and Mums To Be

Looking at the challenges faced by mothers with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in order to provide valuable information to women, their partners, and healthcare providers.  

We're hoping this study will lead to a greater understanding of the issues mothers with Crohn's and Colitis face and help women to cope better with pregnancy in the future.

Prof. Anna Madill, University of Leeds

What did this research look at? 

Pregnancy and early motherhood can be one of the most joyful but also one of the most demanding phases of a woman’s life. They can be even more challenging when a woman has a serious long-term condition such as Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. 

Active Crohn’s can reduce a woman’s fertility. Crohn's and Colitis can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and birth, and also reduce the energy a woman can muster to care for young children. 

However, even if a woman has active Crohn's or Colitis at the time of conception, 1 in 3 will get no worse and 1 in 3 will actually experience improvement in their symptoms during pregnancy. 

The aim of this research was to inform women, their partners, and healthcare providers about the experience of planning and starting a family, and coping with young children in the context of living with Crohn's or Colitis.  

22 mums from various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds across the UK took part. Researchers interviewed them about their experiences and explored: 

  • Key challenges 
  • Support mechanisms 
  • Coping strategies 
  • Unmet needs 

What the researchers found  

The women identified many parallels between the transition to living with Crohn’s or Colitis and becoming a mum. These included the need for maturity, changes in lifestyle such as developing new regimes, sleep and support networks. 
Researchers also highlighted the need for proactive advice, information and discussion on reproductive health as soon as appropriate after diagnosis with Crohn’s or Colitis. And a need for better integration of IBD and maternity services.   
Based on these findings and in partnership with the mums who took part in the study the team developed a suite of You Tube videos. These share the experiences of women with Crohn’s and Colitis who have already become mothers. 

If you want to follow IBD and Mums to Be on social media, find the links below:

Twitter - @IBDandMumsToBe

Facebook - IBD and Mums-To-Be | Facebook

What the researchers think this could mean for people with Crohn's or Colitis?

The videos support informed choice for women with Crohn’s or Colitis through access to the experience of women living with the conditions who are now mums. 

The resources and findings will also help health professionals and support services understand the concerns and needs of women with IBD who are considering starting a family, who are pregnant, or who are struggling to cope with young children.   

Who led this research: Prof. Anna Madill, Ms J Goyareb - University of Leeds 
Our Funding: £82,500 
Duration: 36 months 
Official title of application: Mothers-to-be and IBD 
Tags: Pregnancy 


This page has been saved in your personal space. Go to “My Page” to view all saved pages.

Helpline service


We know it can be difficult to live with, or support someone living with these conditions. But you’re not alone. We provide up-to-date, evidence-based information and can support you to live well with Crohn’s or Colitis.

Our helpline team can help by:

  • Providing information about Crohn’s and Colitis.

  • Listening and talking through your situation.

  • Helping you to find support from others in the Crohn’s and Colitis community.

  • Signposting you to specialist organisations.

Please be aware we’re not medically or legally trained. We cannot provide detailed financial or benefits advice or specialist emotional support.

Please contact us via telephone, email or LiveChat - 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except English bank holidays).

Live chat

If you need specific medical advice about your condition, your GP or IBD team will be best placed to help.

Would you like to save the changes made to this page?