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Traumatic Childbirth May Increase Risk of Mother Suffering Urinary Incontinence

On a seemingly daily basis medical researchers are learning more about various activities, substances, and treatment that affect a developing child in a pregnancy. Similarly, though less often discussed, doctors are also learning more about ways that pregnancy affects mothers-in the both the short and long term.

Each Chicago birth injury attorney at our firm appreciates that there may not be any easy way to prevent certain complications. Discovering the causes of certain pregnancy problems and complications does not mean that prevention is always possible. However, you can be sure that medical researchers will take the causal information and work to develop cures or preventative protocols. Once those treatment options are available, it is important for all medical professionals to be sure that their patients are made aware of them. Failure to do so may one day be medical malpractice.

One recent story from HealthCanal.com highlights new (and unique) information that medical professionals are learning about the long-term consequences of certain pregnancies. As published last week at the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a new study focused on the connection between urinary incontinence and vaginal childbirth. Urinary incontinence is a serious issue for many women, with real ramifications on everyday life.

Researchers from the University of Gethenburg in Sweden examined the connection between women who suffered from the incontinence and had given birth in the last 10 years. They then analyzed whether the births were vaginal or involved caesarean section. All of the study participants had only one child. In total, over 6,000 women participated in the study with information collected via use of a medical birth register and questionnaires.

What did they find?

The main finding was that urinary incontinence was considerably higher in women who had vaginal deliveries when compared to those who had C-sections. Woman who had given birth vaginally had a 40.3% risk of suffering the urinary incontinence compared with only 28.8% of mothers who had a C-section. In addition, the chance that the condition would last for a long time (more than ten years) was three time more likely for those with vaginal deliveries.

Our Illinois birth injury attorneys understand that it is important to remember that these findings indicate that the vaginal births are only one of many factors leading to urinary incontinence. The amount of trauma present during the birth is also a factor. If another birth injury develops because of particularly rough process, then the risk of incontinence goes up even further. Outside of the birthing context, obesity and aging are also factors in the development of the condition.

Of course it is also important to reiterate that the increase risk of incontinence is certainly not a promotion for having caesarean sections whenever possible. A holistic approach has to be considered, of which this study is just a small part. As the lead author of this latest study summarized, “Women need to look at all the information when deciding on a mode of delivery as despite vaginal delivery…being linked to urinary incontinence, caesarean section involves its own risks.”

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