|Posted by Andie Gunter on December 16, 2010 at 8:13 AM||comments (0)|
Many women experience problems with their pelvic floor- leaking urine and, occasionally, feces. In the past, some people have blamed having a vaginal birth for pelvic floor problems. Childbirth Connection has a resource separating fact from fiction- what causes pelvic floor problems and what can be done to help prevent them.
Vaginal birth has been blamed, and some suggest that enlarging the opening of the vagina by cutting it at the time of birth (episiotomy) or even having a surgical birth when there is no medical complication (elective c-section)will prevent weakened pelvic floor muscles and injury. Unfortunately,there is a lot of false, unproven, and incomplete information on this topic.
A few women plan a cesarean section in hopes of avoiding pelvic floor problems. But will a cesarean prevent those problems?
Planning cesarean surgery simply to avoid the possibility of pelvic floor problems is unlikely to be in your self-interest. Cesarean surgery involves numerous extra risks to you and your baby. By contrast, the likelihood of continuing to experience bothersome symptoms after the postpartum recovery period with a vaginal birth is small. Moreover,some women with continuing problems can obtain relief or cure and avoid a corrective operation by an intensive regimen of pelvic floor exercises (kegels). It makes much better sense to avoid the procedures and practices that are known to cause problems in the first place.
Some of the interventions that may cause pelvic floor problems include: lying on the back, episiotomy, vacumm and forceps, directed pushing and fundal pressure. Epidurals increase the chance of needing a vacuum or forceps delivery and the risk of having a tear into the anal muscle. Those two things, in turn, increase the risk of pelvic floor problems. Many of these interventions are overused in maternity care. By choosing a caregiver that supports normal birth, you may be able to avoid having interventions that increase your risk of pelvic floor problems.