A mixed methods exploration of the experiences of women living with inflammatory bowel disease of pregnancy

  • Helen Elizabeth Janiszewski

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


    Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition affecting the gastrointestinal system and is an umbrella term for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns Disease, affecting one in 250 people. Management of symptoms of IBD prior to and during pregnancy is key, with the risk of developing pregnancy complications increasing if there is active disease (Getahun et al. 2014). Literature about IBD and pregnancy is dominated by medicinal safety, with a preliminary literature search highlighting the paucity of evidence about women’s experience of pregnancy and IBD.

    The aim of the study was to gain insight into the experiences of women living with IBD of pregnancy. An exploratory, mixed methods design was selected, with data collected using an anonymous online survey containing closed ended questions, open ended questions and agreement scales. This was distributed by Crohns and Colitis UK on their website and social media platforms for six weeks. Women self-selected as fulfilling the eligibility criteria which was diagnosis of IBD prior to or during pregnancy, given birth in the last twelve months and aged 18 years or over. The quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics due to the amount of data obtained and template analysis was used for the qualitative data.

    The quantitative results of the study identified that women felt that they were not prepared for the unpredictability of the disease activity during their pregnancy whilst the qualitative findings of the study identified concerns about mode of birth for women, with the differences in experience either detracting from or positively contributing to experiences of pregnancy. Advice about medication also varied, despite the literature being dominated by medication and safety efficacy, and therefore this wealth of literature does not appear to be being translated into meaningful information given to women by health professionals. A lack of midwifery knowledge about IBD also emerged and the impact this had on women’s experiences of pregnancy.

    Whilst a small sample, this study has provided a unique insight into the experiences of pregnancy for women living with IBD and has provided the opportunity to give suggestions about how their pregnancy could have been improved.
    Date of Award2018
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorElizabeth Bailey (Supervisor) & Jane Coad (Supervisor)

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