Giving birth is seen as the most natural thing in the world, but unfortunately it doesn’t always go to plan. Birth injuries and trauma are a common occurrence and they can understandably be devastating to have to deal with.
When not treated, birth injuries and trauma can have a negative effect on relationships, your mental health and even your career. However, there are ways to deal with these injuries and trauma to minimize the additional damage they can cause.
These types of injuries can affect both baby and mother. However, in this blog we’ll be talking about the injuries that can impact the mother. Below, you’ll discover some of the best ways to deal with birth injuries and trauma which have affected you, rather than your baby.
Vaginal tears are by far one of the most common birthing injuries you can go through. Its unsurprising tears occur given the size of your baby you’re trying to push out! It’s thought that 9 out of 10 women experience some level of vaginal tears, but the majority do tend to be really minor.
There are actually different types of tears you could experience. These include:
- First degree
- Second degree
- Third and fourth degree
The first-degree tears are the most common and are skin deep. It’s possible you might need some stitches, but they do tend to heal really quickly. There isn’t typically long-term damage from these types of tears and pain is minimal.
Second degree vaginal tears are a little deeper, usually involving a tear in the muscle, and around the skin of your anus. In these tears’ stitches are usually required, though dissolvable stitches tend to be used so they don’t have to be removed. It takes around a few weeks to recover from second degree tears and they can be quite painful.
The most severe types of tears are the third- and fourth-degree tears. These are less common, and they can include anal sphincter damage, as well as damage to the lining and muscles of the anus. While these types of tears are considered largely unpredictable, there are a few risk factors to be aware of. These include if the baby is overly large, if it’s your first vaginal delivery and if labor has been induced. There are steps you can take to reduce the chances of experiencing a severe tear, so it’s worth talking to your midwife if you are concerned.
As well as these natural tears, you may also be left with a tear from an episiotomy. This is where the midwife cuts the vagina intentional during labor. They do this to prevent more serious tears, making the vaginal opening wider so that your baby can easily pass through. This type of tear will only be made if the midwife feels it is medically necessary and safer.
It’s important to keep an eye on the tear if you do develop one to ensure it’s healing properly. For more serious tears, you’ll be required to go to follow up appointments to make sure it is healing correctly. If you don’t seek treatment or care for the tears, it can lead to all kinds of other issues such as incontinence, stinging pain when urinating, scarring, and pain and soreness.
All women experience some blood loss when giving birth, however some lose far more than others. While it’s common to continue bleeding on and off for 2-6 weeks after giving birth, if the bleeding is heavy then it could be down to post-partum hemorrhage.
You can either suffer from a primary or secondary post-partum hemorrhage. Primary hemorrhages occur within 24 hours of giving birth, while secondary hemorrhages occur within 6 weeks after giving birth. It’s thought that primary hemorrhages occur in 5 out of every 100 pregnancies, which secondary hemorrhages are much less common, occurring in 2 out of every 100 pregnancies. This makes secondary hemorrhages much more dangerous and, in some cases, they can be life threatening.
Your midwife and doctor will be able to spot the signs of whether or not you are at risk of developing a post-partum hemorrhage. If you do experience bleeding after giving birth, it’s important to seek advice as soon as possible as the quicker treatment can be provided, the better.
Ruptured Or Prolapsed Uterus
The uterus can suffer two types of injuries during pregnancy and childbirth. Women who have previously gone through a C-Section are more at risk of developing a ruptured uterus; a serious complication where the uterus wall tears throughout the pregnancy.
It’s considered a life-threatening complication, so treatment needs to be sought immediately after it’s been detected. The treatment is typically an emergency C-Section, followed by a uterine repair if it’s possible. A transfusion will also likely need to be carried out as heavy blood loss is common with this type of injury.
A prolapsed uterus on the other hand is less serious and it involves one of more of the organs of the pelvis bulging into the vagina. This affects a large number of women and it occurs during and after childbirth. The majority of the time, it’s managed by carrying out pelvic floor exercises. If the prolapse is quite severe however, you might need more invasive treatment to correct it.
The above are just some of the most common birth injuries and trauma the mother can face during pregnancy and labor. While they can obviously be quite daunting, your doctor and midwife should be able to put your mind at ease and help monitor you if you are considered a high risk for complications. The key thing to remember is to seek treatment as soon as possible if you do suspect you have suffered a birth injury or trauma.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or licensed medical professional before making any medical decisions.