Women’s postpartum health issues ‘ignored’

Health issues many Irish women are silently suffering from after childbirth have been revealed by a new medical study.

Research from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) shows how new mothers cope with conditions related to urinary incontinence and pelvic pain, as well as sexual and mental health problems.

The data from more than 3,000 first-time mothers in three maternity hospitals examine the course of the diseases from before pregnancy to 12 months after birth.

Associate Professor of Midwifery at TCD, Deirdre Daly, who led the research team, said the conditions were on “nobody’s radar”.

“There’s a complete silence around women’s health and the systems for telling women that a lot of these problems are common but not normal,” she said.

“And for most women, they can also be managed effectively with conservative treatments.

“There are some women who have multiple health issues and they are on the severe end, but overall the health issues that we look at are not perceived as life-threatening. But they are the things that will leave you miserable, absolutely miserable and miserable in motherhood.”

The study, The course of postpartum recovery: what is known and what is not known is part of the Longitudinal Maternal Health and Maternal Morbidity in Ireland (MAMMI) study.

The authors said that women who experience new-onset stress urinary incontinence during their first pregnancy—losing urine when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or during physical activity—and who are still symptomatic three months after giving birth, have an 88 percent risk of always having it still having symptoms five years later.

Overall, urinary incontinence increased every month or more, from 8 percent of women before pregnancy to 22 percent of women 12 months after childbirth.

The study, published in Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal, found that sexual health problems increased from 62 percent before pregnancy to 77 percent three months after birth to 64 percent a year after a baby was born.

Regarding pelvic girdle pain, just over half, or 56 percent, of women were affected before pregnancy, but it rose to 81 percent at three months postpartum and 70 percent at 12 months postpartum.

Depression rose from 10.9 percent before pregnancy to 11.8 percent of women 12 months after childbirth, while anxiety fell from 7.1 percent before pregnancy to 9.4 percent 12 months after childbirth.

Prof Daly said the fact that maternity services for women end six weeks after giving birth is a major obstacle for women seeking help with these health problems.

“Many women will be perfectly healthy and thrive, but there are a great many women who develop health problems and have problems that persist over time,” she said.

“Our maternity care ends when a woman is six weeks postpartum. We know it’s way, way too soon.

“These are primiparous. There is a need for services for women that last up to, if not more than, three months thereafter.”

The study also found that just over half of women continued to experience extreme fatigue or fatigue a year after having their first baby.

In addition, almost a third suffered from frequent coughs, runny noses and mild illnesses or severe headaches or migraines, some suffered from persistent wound pain.

By three months after giving birth, one in eight women had visited their family doctor three or more times, one in eight had visited an emergency room, and one in 20 had been hospitalized again three months after giving birth.

The top two reasons for seeking medical help were breast problems and complications related to perineal or cesarean wounds.

Prof Daly added that there are additional implications of conditions such as incontinence.

“They will stop exercising because it triggers [leaking]. Then you’re in this cycle of sedentary lifestyle and weight gain,” she said.

“So you’re in this vicious circle of multiple miserable health issues that will wear women down and exhaust them.”

However, she said there are treatments for these conditions.

“Regular pelvic floor exercises are known to be effective,” she said. “The first step is to know that it is not normal and that help is available.”

The paper noted that treatment options for women suffering from pelvic girdle pain include evaluation by a women’s health physical therapist or other appropriately qualified physician. Treatment options may include exercise and the use of a non-rigid lumbar-pelvic belt.

The researchers recommend that physicians recognize that perinatal mental health is not limited to depression and spans the spectrum of mental distress and mental illness diagnoses.

Prof Daly also said women need to be aware that for the vast majority of women, pictures of the “Instagram mom” do not reflect real life.

“It’s images of a moment that someone prepared and probably prepared very well,” she said.

She added that women in the MAMMI study have repeatedly said that postpartum women don’t have time to focus primarily on their baby.

“Women then learn that the baby comes first, but you have to come first because if you’re okay, your baby and your family will probably be okay, too,” she said.

Researchers emphasized that “significant proportions of women were not directly questioned about health problems by healthcare professionals.”

“When women don’t know what’s normal and what’s not after childbirth, they can suffer in silence and health problems result [and] Problems that are preventable and treatable are likely to become chronic.”

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/womens-health-problems-post-birth-ignored-41879612.html Women’s postpartum health issues ‘ignored’

Fry Electronics Team

Fry Electronics.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@fry-electronics.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button