Epidural offers protection during labour

Procedure may cut risk of incontinence in later life

In a new study of nearly 400 women, researchers from the Nepean Clinical School of Medicine in Sydney, Australia found that one in ten women who had vaginal births suffered damage to their levator muscles, which hold up internal organs, and one-third of those who had a forceps delivery experienced some muscle trauma, the BBC reports. Pelvic muscle injury incurred during childbirth can be a key risk factor for organ prolapse. This condition occurs when pelvic muscles are so weak that the organs they support, like the bladder and uterus, begin to drop, and symptoms can include sexual problems, urinary and faecal incontinence, or chronic constipation. Surgery is generally the best option. Women who’ve given birth once are four times more likely to required hospital attention for this condition than those who have none, while those with two vaginal births are eight times more likely. In the study of nearly 400 women, researchers found that those who had an epidural, a spinal analgesia that blocks contraction pain, had a lower risk of damage.

BBC News

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