When Your Pregnancy Echoes Your Illness: Transition to Motherhood With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Abstract

Our aim is to provide an understanding of the experience of women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who have made the transition to motherhood. A total of 22 mothers with IBD were recruited from around the United Kingdom. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed using thematic analysis. The central concept—Blurred Lines—offers a novel frame for understanding the transition to motherhood with IBD through identifying parallels between having IBD and becoming, and being, a mother. Parallels clustered into three main themes: Need for Readiness, Lifestyle Changes, and Monitoring Personal and Physical Development. Hence, women with IBD are in some ways well prepared for the challenges of motherhood even though, as a group, they tend to restrict their reproductive choices. We recommend health professionals initiate conversations about reproduction early and provide a multidisciplinary approach to pregnancy and IBD in which women have confidence that their ongoing treatment will be integrated successfully with their maternity care.

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