A birthing injury is any trauma or damage sustained throughout the labor and delivery process. It can make the postpartum period of recovery uncomfortable and painful.
Here are some possible birthing injuries moms-to-be need to be aware of.
1. Vaginal tearing
During labor and delivery, the birth canal is put through intense pressure, which can cause cracking or tearing anywhere on the vulva or perineum. This typically happens in vaginal or forceps births. Though minor tearing can heal on its own, it can still cause discomfort like painful bowel movements or fecal incontinence. It’s advised to practice good hygiene. For major tearing, surgery is usually required to repair them.
2. Vulvar hematoma
This deep bruising or swelling happens when an episiotomy wound is not healing properly. The pain caused by the swelling of the vulva can be intolerable for some moms. Doctors may decide to perform a surgery to allow proper drainage of blood as well as antibiotics treatment to help fight infection.
This is excessive bleeding that is due to the bursting of the womb’s blood vessels. This is most common in Cesarean section delivery. Surgery is usually done to repair the damage, but those with blood-clotting disorders need special attention and immediate intervention. A surgeon may perform an emergency hysterectomy to stop the bleeding.
4. Surgical adhesion
Surgical adhesion can occur after C-sections. It happens when scar tissue causes the internal organs to adhere or stick together. Women who experience this complain of pelvic or abdominal pain, which is the result of restricted internal movement. Surgery is required to treat adhesions, but there is a chance that this will recur, depending on the body’s response to healing.
5. Uterine rupture
Moms who plan to undergo vaginal birth after C-sections (VBAC) are more at risk for this life-threatening birthing injury. This happens when the strong uterine contractions causes tearing on the pre-existing c-section scars. An emergency C-section or a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be carried out in extreme cases.
6. Uterine prolapse
As a result of difficult labor, a woman’s uterus can abnormally descend or distend into their their birth canal. New moms can be advised to strengthen their pelvic floor by doing Kegels exercises and instructed to avoid heavy lifting. For complex cases of uterine prolapse, surgery may be required to prevent further health risks.
An Obstetric fistula is a dangerous birthing injury caused by prolonged, difficult labor. It is a hole that appears between the vagina and anus or bladder. If an abscess forms due to the swelling glands in the anus and remains untreated, it can result in a fistula. The danger with this is that fecal excretion can be redirected to the vagina instead of the anus because of the blockage. Immediate medical intervention is needed to properly repair and treat the abscess.
READ: 6 Reasons the first bowel movement after birth can hurt even more than labor