Ask any mom and they'll tell you that childbirth definitely effects you throughout life. Each method, from vaginal to cesarean sections, comes with its own specific side effects. Now, a new study has discovered one delivery method may lead to pelvic floor disorders later in life. For new moms, it's helpful to be aware of these things, so you can have a better idea about what you may want to expect from your body after childbirth.
Broadly, pelvic floor disorders are a collection of disorders that affect the pelvic floor. Oftentimes, weakened pelvic floor muscles or connective tissue tears can cause pelvic floor disorders, as noted by Voices For PFD. The organization also said on its website that, as the muscles and surrounding support tissues get weaker, your bowel, bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum might be affected as well.
Over 33 percent of women in the United States have some sort of pelvic floor disorder and almost 25 percent of U.S. women have at least one symptom of a disorder, as reported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Many moms complain about developing pelvic floor disorders, like postpartum urinary incontinence.
Giving birth is tough on your body but, according to researchers, giving birth vaginally could potentially seriously impact the chance that a woman will develop a pelvic floor disorder later in life.
A 10-year study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked into how childbirth methods can impact pelvic floor disorders in women. In the study's abstract, researchers noted that pelvic floor disorders are associated with childbirth, but, "little is known about the course and progression of pelvic floor disorders over time."
For the study, researchers enrolled 1,528 women who were within five to 10 years of their first birth and then checked up on them annually for up to nine years, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Of the women involved, Johns Hopkins noted that 778 delivered all of their children by c-section, 565 had at least one "spontaneous vaginal delivery," and 185 had a delivery requiring forceps or vacuum-assistance at least once.
The study specifically looked at a woman's risk of developing one of four pelvic floor disorders, as noted by Science Daily: stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, anal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse.
Researchers found that giving birth via cesarean section lowered the risk of pelvic floor disorders, particularly pelvic organ prolapse, but that operative deliveries raised the risk, as Science Daily noted.
Victoria Handa, M.D., M.H.S, said of the study, according to Johns Hopkins:
We knew that these disorders are more common after childbirth, but now after following these women for 10 years, we have a good sense of how delivery mode impacts a woman's risk of developing pelvic floor disorders.
It's important to note that delivery methods like cesarean sections also come with their own risks, such as developing blood clots. So, this isn't meant to make women afraid of giving birth vaginally.
"These data help us understand which women might be at highest risk to develop these conditions," Handa said, according to Science Daily. "Ultimately this research will help us identify which women should be targeted for prevention strategies, and will hopefully improve our ability to deliver the right type of care to the right person."
Birth changes a lot about your body. Studies like this help doctors keep track of who might be at increased risk for specific disorders, so they can really help patients throughout their lives.
After a very frustrating first birth experience, this Deaf mother wanted a change. Will the help of two Deaf doulas give the quality communication and birth experience this mom wants and deserves? Watch Episode Four of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below, and visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes.