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The complications and long term health implications of pregnancy and childbirth

(146 Posts)
FestiviaBlueberry Sat 05-Jan-13 01:02:59

I've been thinking about this in relation to abortion.

One of the things which strikes me, is how casual the forced-birthers are about the idea of forcing women to carry and bear children they don't want. "It's only 9 months!" they cry, as if nine months of morning sickness and bone degeneration is nothing and 24 hours of physical torture followed by lifelong incontinence is irrelevant.

I'd like to compile a list of side effects caused or exacerbated by pregnancy and birth because I'd like to do a blog post about it. My basic fury about this, is how women's lives are so marginal, that most people have NO CLUE about the very real short, medium and long term risks and side effects of pregnancy and birth - even when they become pregnant. Only if you get one of the conditions, or know someone who has, do you ever find out about the things you can suffer from as a result of pregnancy.

And if men were told that they would have to endure one of these conditions, in order to keep their child alive when they hadn't planned it and didn't want it, they would ... well, WTF am I on about really, no-one would ever tell men that they have to endure these health impacts for the sake of someone else without positively choosing to endure them.

So off the top of my head, here are the ones I can think of:

Constant nausea for months
Increased risk of osteoporosis
Diabetes, sometimes permanent - anyone know any stats on this?
Stress incontinence
The other type of incontinence which you get from Caesarean sections, the name of which escapes me (anyone?)

I googled "long term side effects of pregnancy" and literally, found one entry - which listed stretch marks, sagging breasts and average 5lb weight retention.

Looks like there's a bit of a silence on this and I don't think there should be.

Any help much appreciated! smile

HoleyGhost Sat 05-Jan-13 07:55:33

I often wonder if these long term costs are taken into account when allocating resources to postnatal and maternity care.

Long term effects - especially PTSD, PND, incontinence and sexual dysfunction - are so very common. Some of it could be avoided with better care.

Bearandcub Sat 05-Jan-13 07:57:09

Snoring and sleep apnoea

Bearandcub Sat 05-Jan-13 07:58:49

Completely agree HoleyGhost.

wanderingalbatross Sat 05-Jan-13 08:03:30

Fatigue - not a medical thing but constant tiredness (in my case for the whole 9 months) has a huge effect on day to day life.

And if I remember correctly, the NICE guidelines on gestational diabetes have stats in.

breatheslowly Sat 05-Jan-13 08:06:49

Amongst many post birth issues I had nerve damage that left my foot and lower leg unable to move for about 6 weeks (really useful if you are trying to care for a newborn). It is called drop foot and I am not sure if it can be permanent. You can also add PTSD and anal fissures to you list.

Bearandcub Sat 05-Jan-13 08:09:21

Fatigue is not just for pregnancy sad

Bearandcub Sat 05-Jan-13 08:10:25

Much much more minor than breatheslowly's but
Restless Leg Syndrome

SmallIWantForXmasIsA6ft2Dwarf Sat 05-Jan-13 08:11:33

Side effects I suffered during pregnancy included carpel tunnel, sciatica, vomiting, SPD and separated stomach muscles. My hair also changed colour as someone mentioned above which I found bizarre.
During birth I had an episiotomy and assisted delivery with DS1 and a 3rd degree tear with DS 2 with postnatal infections and PND caused I believe by the trauma of that birth. I couldn't (mentally) have sex for 6 months and then only did because I felt I ought to. It probably took 2 years minimum for me to actually enjoy sex again.

I would also add to the list issues regarding prolapses.

wanderingalbatross Sat 05-Jan-13 08:15:06

bearcub I don't get your point? I know fatigue isn't just for pregnancy, but neither are many of the other complications listed on the thread.

Bearandcub Sat 05-Jan-13 08:22:31

It wasn't a dig wandering I'm just fucking knackered from being up half the night with DS2.

Call it typing without thinking wink. Also the reason why I'm back and forth as cannot remember anything.

Levantine Sat 05-Jan-13 08:23:07

Dental problems, sciatica, incontinence.

I'm glad you started this thread, I had no idea before having my dc about any of this

AbigailAdams Sat 05-Jan-13 08:24:41

I still have coccyx issues 3 yrs after giving birth. Not sure if that counts as back issues (or just sitting on harder surfaces issues!). And my SPD isn't fully sorted.

Things like flexibility are also affected. Probably doesn't affect the average woman but if you enjoy sport it could have a detrimental effect.

There are also things that could affect further pregnancies/births such as that blood issue when the mother is -ve and baby is +ve or vice versa (sorry can't remember the name), repeat tearing, heart problems and I am sure there are others. There is a woman in Relationships at the moment who is being pressured by her husband to have further children despite having severe pregnancy related health risks.

And does fibromyalgia present itself more frequently during/post-pregnancy?

wanderingalbatross Sat 05-Jan-13 08:29:19

bearcub was just wondering if I'd missed the point smile (Also tired from non-sleeping child and pregnancy sad )

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 05-Jan-13 08:29:38

Yeah - I think there is increased chance of injury if you do sport whilst pregnant as you are more flexible and can overextend.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 05-Jan-13 08:30:18

AA - did you dislocate your coccyx during birth? sad

SPBInDisguise Sat 05-Jan-13 08:34:15

I'm not sure I agree with the principal of making a horrifying "what can go wrong" list as it may skew women's perceptions of normal pregnancy and delivery, however

I was on a thread recently which was about why should a man pay for a child he'd asked the woman to abort? (let's discount now the idea that he should actually be involved any more than financially)

Lots of wailing about how it wasn't faaaaair on the poor man - why should he have to pay for a child he'd asked the woman to abort? I made the point that life, pregnancy and childbirth itself isn't faaaair, and on the whole it's not faaaair towards the woman - only women suffer the physical effects of pregnancy and childbirth. While deaths in childbirth are rare, I imagine severe short term or long term problems as a direct result of pregnancy and childbirth are not.

JammySplodger Sat 05-Jan-13 08:34:36

I agree with NandoCushion. I'd never underestimate the physical and psychological effects of pregnancy and birth, but am not sure why this thread started with a men-bashing element. I have far more of an issue with unsympathetic women who've had a problem free time of it and think anyone with any pregnancy or post-natal condition is playing it up (and yes I've met a few).

SPBInDisguise Sat 05-Jan-13 08:35:36

My point being was that no one cares when women are disproportionately affected - that is their lot in life. But have the smallest amount of injustice towards a man and people will take notice.

addictedismoving Sat 05-Jan-13 08:47:27

my cfs was made worse by pregnancy, I led a fairly normal life until then.
I also have a problem with my PI joint in my pelvis being out of line, hugely painful and the physio's answer was 'well if yoyu were to have another baby it might sort its self out during that pregnancy' hmm
and so many others on this list. dd2 is 11 months and I still have piles, problems with my bowels, having sex, pains where my tear from dd1 was.

And I know this may sound really minor and stupid, but my feet grew! I cant wear some of my favirote shoes anymore because my feet grew 1.5 sizes and have never gone back, same with my hands swelling up and I'm unable to wear my wedding ring. Even tho I've gone back to pre preg size my hands and feet have never returned

JammySplodger Sat 05-Jan-13 08:48:14

I'm confused about the purpose of this thread now. Is it about abortion choices, apportionment of medical funding, awareness of ante and post natal conditions, something else?

AbigailAdams Sat 05-Jan-13 08:51:17

I don't know Doctrine, actually! It was very painful sitting downfor about 8 weeks post partum and then gradually went down to the dull ache I now get when sitting (and standing up again) on hard surfaces. So probably not. However I off to see a chiropractor about other things so I'll ask them. Never thought of that tbh.

WhatALark Sat 05-Jan-13 08:51:32

I'm seriously going to show this thread to my partner the next time he mentions trying for another child. I'm broody, but can't face another pregnancy.

Here is my personal horror list:

During pregnancy:

Hyperemesis, with severe dehydration
Gum disease and wobbly teeth
Iritis (a horrid auto-immune inflammation of the iris, which leads to blindness if not treated quickly and efficiently. A sudden change in hormones can cause an attack).

I've also had one missed miscarriage, which lead to septicaemia, and one incomplete miscarriage which lead to haemorrhaging (which could both have been avoided - medical mismanagement both times).

JammySplodger Sat 05-Jan-13 08:52:23

I'm confused about the purpose of this thread now. Is it about abortion choices, apportionment of medical funding, awareness of ante and post natal conditions, something else? (sorry if this posts twice, phone issues)

JammySplodger Sat 05-Jan-13 08:52:37

I'm confused about the purpose of this thread now. Is it about abortion choices, apportionment of medical funding, awareness of ante and post natal conditions, something else? (sorry if this posts twice, phone issues)

JammySplodger Sat 05-Jan-13 08:54:08


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