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Bladders, Babies & Beyond!

In response to a global shift focusing on women’s health, clinicians from Sunnybrook Research Institute and ONF have endeavored to turn a lens toward pregnancy in women with spinal cord injury and its impacts on urogenital health and quality of life.

Studies have shown that an increasing number of women with SCI are making the decision to have children. Women with SCI have specific considerations during pregnancy particularly surrounding bladder health care and management. Dr. Anne Berndl, Assistant Professor at University of Toronto and an Associate Scientist with Sunnybrook Research Institute along with Dr. Anne Harris, epidemiologist and Assistant Professor at Ryerson’s school of Occupational and Public Health have pooled resources with funding from ONF and Praxis Spinal Cord Institute to develop a study assessing the effect of pregnancy on urogenital health in women with SCI.

Little is known about the impact of pregnancy on the health of women with SCI; the learnings from this study will identify any links between pregnancy and urogenital health for women with SCI to support informed decision making. This is a study that builds on the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation’s research priority of bladder health impacting quality of life.

Dr. Anne Berndl

The goal of the study is to provide women with SCI with evidence-based information to help them make informed reproductive health decisions and improve clinical care during and after pregnancy.
The first phase of the study aims to produce a registry collecting data across the female SCI community. The intent is to begin to track patterns and analyze links between pregnancy and urogenital health, if any. Women involved in the study will complete a questionnaire that captures demographics, pregnancy history and information around continence and urogenital health. Both women who have carried a full-term pregnancy and women who have not will form the cohort that will be studied over a three-year span.

Expected outcomes:

  • Information learned from this study will be incorporated into preconceptual counselling and pregnancy care for women with SCI
  • A fact sheet directed towards women with SCI will be created using the results of this study and will be available online
  • A project summary statement will be created and distributed to clinical stakeholders 

The outcomes of this study are expected to inform women with SCI, their physicians and allied care providers. The ONF funded study includes an advisory committee with members of the SCI community including ONF SCI Program Director, Dr. Tara Jeji.

For more information about this study visit: https://questionnaire.simplesurvey.com/f/l/sci-up-survey

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