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Women with Inflammatory Bowel Disease Are at Greater Risk of Mental Illness Postpartum


For every 43 pregnancies, there is one extra case of mental illness in a woman with IBD, compared to other women.

A study published in the journal Gut shows that women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at greater risk of developing a mental illness after giving birth compared to the overall population. Study authors found that more than one-fifth of pregnant women with IBD had a new-onset mental health diagnosis.

“There’s increasing awareness about mental illness in women during pregnancy and postpartum,” said Dr. Eric Benchimol, senior author on the paper, and Senior Scientist at the CHEO Research Institute. “Because of the elevated risk of mental illness in people with IBD, we felt it was important to study if women with IBD were at greater risk of developing a new mental illness during pregnancy and after giving birth compared to the overall population. We found the risk to be elevated during the postpartum period for women with IBD, particularly in the first 90 days after birth. We did not find an elevated risk during pregnancy.”

In the study population, pregnant women with IBD had an elevated risk of developing a new-onset mental illness postpartum when compared to women without IBD – 22.7 per cent compared to 20.4 per cent. The women with IBD were at increased risk of two out of the four mental illness diagnostic categories: mood disorders (such as anxiety and depression) and substance use disorders (such as opioid dependency).

“These findings are very important for both patients and healthcare providers in the IBD community,” says Mina Mawani, President and CEO of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. “If a pregnant woman with IBD knows that there’s an elevated risk of mental illness during the postpartum period, she should discuss this potential risk with her healthcare provider. It’s important that healthcare providers are aware of this increased risk in women with IBD. Together, women and their healthcare providers can look for opportunities to prevent mental illness during pregnancy and after birth as well as identify and treat it earlier.”

Read the full article at http://www.cheori.org/en/newsreleases?newsid=2458

Posted on: January 22 2019

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