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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

Sunnywithshowers Mon 14-Jan-13 22:55:53

debtherat I don't know if I posted this upthread, but an acquaintance had a huge gap (size of a fist) between her chest muscles after going through two pregnancies.

YY Trucks

TrucksAndDinosaurs Mon 14-Jan-13 00:30:58

If my sister got pregnant and had a baby she would have to stop taking her arthritis drugs and would likely end up in a wheel chair or at very least, in constant pain for years, probably her whole life. She lives in fear of contraceptive failure.

As do lots of other people with long term
health issues so please can we put that on the list?

debtherat Sun 13-Jan-13 16:03:51

I would add - terrible stomach tone - more than just stretch marks, post traumatic stress symdrome and that indefinable little bit of life energy lost with each baby. Described in a book somewhere - Life After Birth? - as a "few stars going out".

Bur really worldwide neglect of maternal health issues are just unbelieveable... so glad I had my children here.

WantsToBeFree Sun 13-Jan-13 15:54:22

Tokophobia is a pathological fear of pregnancy and vaginal childbirth.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 13-Jan-13 15:18:19

What's Tokophobia, wantstobefree?

grimbletart Sun 13-Jan-13 13:35:13

Oh, pregnancy and childbirth are normal and natural"

Being told that every year nearly half a million women die through normal and natural childbirth seems to shut them up, I find.

The whole point about being "natural" is that nature doesn't give a flying wotsit about the death or morbidity of individual women - as long as enough survive to carry on the population nature has done its work.

WantsToBeFree Sun 13-Jan-13 12:24:19

Somewhere I think the NCB movement may have done some harm in this area. To be clear, I've got nothing at all against natural childbirth, but nowadays it's become "cool" to say things like "Oh, pregnancy and childbirth are normal and natural" or "Women have done this for ages" or "Pregnancy is not a disease".
Now I agree that it's natural and women have done this for years. But that doesn't make it easy or risk-free. However, repeated statements on those lines are misinterpreted and encourage people to trivialise the process.

WantsToBeFree Sun 13-Jan-13 12:18:47

OMG, I couldn't agree more. I have tokophobia and my aunt has permanent incontinence as a result of childbirth. I've always been sickened by how trivially people treat the health impact of pregnancy and childbirth, and how casual they are about forcing women to take on alk these very serious risks.

StewieGriffinsMom Sat 12-Jan-13 09:46:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

georgettemagritte Sat 12-Jan-13 00:22:31

Thanks Fastidia smile I hope so too!

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 11-Jan-13 23:46:00

Sorry that should say pro-forced-birthers.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 11-Jan-13 23:45:23

GG I agree that the list wouldn't give pause for thought for the active, convinces, pro-birthers, but as DoS says, I think it might make some of the blase "it's only 9 months and then 48 hours of agony" crowd think a bit.

Also I must admit part of it is that I want this stuff to be acknowledged. Women go through loads of shit to bear children and yeah, I do think it should not be hidden and brushed under the carpet the way it is now.

It's fairly outrageous that all these things are mostly stuff people don't know about unless they actually get them, or people they know get them. Considering how many of us know people who are or have been pregnant or have been so ourselves, that pretty crap info.

Thanks for the Kate Figes tip, Georgette, I think I've got a copy somewhere, will read. Good luck with the birth, hope all goes well for you. smile

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 11-Jan-13 22:35:09

Crikey, let'sgetready sad

GG, I do think it's helpful as a response to 'well, it's only 9 months' - and I think it's also been a really informative thread. I agree it wouldn't sway an extremist, but I think it is good info for those who perhaps haven't thought about it that much but have a vague feeling that preganancy then adoption is somehow a 'pain-free' solution to an unwanted PG.

letsgetreadytoramble Fri 11-Jan-13 22:23:21

I expected to have a rough time when giving birth, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened. I developed pre-eclampsia 10 days before DS was due, was induced, DS heart rate fell, had EMC, something went wrong though and in recovery all my lady bits suddenly swelled to 5 times normal size (was agony.) Over next few days blood clots formed in CS wound, preventing it from closing. Had another op to try to sort it out, and a drain put in (attached to a big plastic box that I had to carry around with me.) Then transpired I'd lost too much blood and had to have a blood transfusion. Then developed a spinal migraine (due to having previous op with a spinal anaesthetic so I could carry on BF tiny DS.) Was unbelievably painful and lasted days. Had CT scan (with stuff injected into me) then had another op to remove drain and stitch up wound. Meanwhile lady bits took weeks to get back to original size so enjoyed many a catheter insertion and removal during that time too. Was in and out of hosp for a month. Am besotted with DS but won't be having any more babies.

SinisterSal Fri 11-Jan-13 21:56:22

I get you GG. But I don't think.his thread is giving the ' pro abortion ' side really, its not relevant really? Its more about acknowledging the battle scars really. Rather like a debrief after active service really rather than pretending it's all a bit of glamorous derring do. Probably not explaining we'll.either. [smile ] and sorry for this ridiculous phone its bloody painful.

GoldenGreen Fri 11-Jan-13 21:36:59

Yes I agree SinisterSal. Giving a balanced view to the pregnant woman is what it's all about.

I just think it is unlikely that anyone pressuring a pregnant woman into having a termination would stop and consider any of this, sadly. And in some ways I'm not sure it's even relevant to the argument; if pregnancy and birth were fabulously easy and entirely risk free for every single woman, would it then be ok to force someone to go ahead with an unwanted pregnancy? Probably not explaining it well, I know.

SinisterSal Fri 11-Jan-13 21:22:23

And other's wont golden gen. That's what information s for, so everyone can make their own risk assessment and their own decision.
This stuff is never discussed.its worth acknowledging that's there's more to pregnancy and birth than a glow and a bloom.

GoldenGreen Fri 11-Jan-13 21:06:12

Whilst I appreciate the reasons for starting this thread, I don't think that anyone who has the mentality that says it's ok to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term will change their minds just because you have given them a list of possible complications. In their view, the life of the unborn baby is more important than any discomfort (or in some cases, as we can see here, extreme distress or disability). Though it is true that they like to dwell on how much the mother will suffer mentally if she does have a termination.

PetiteRaleuse Fri 11-Jan-13 20:47:26

Anyone said hernia? At the beginning of my last pregnancy I asked both my GP and my OB GYN about the risk of an abdominal scar developing a hernia. Oh no, don't worry about that, they said. Until at 7 months I pointed out the huge bulge sticking out of my bump. Tey then switched to, oh yes, hernias during pregnancy are very common, don't worry about it, you can get it operated on later if it is still there several months after birth.

SinisterSal Fri 11-Jan-13 20:41:27

That's rang a bell with me, my friend was diagnosed with m just after her first was born. Pg and bfing does affect the progression of it in unpredictable ways - some positive I believe.

georgettemagritte Fri 11-Jan-13 20:40:30

Thank you! smile

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 11-Jan-13 20:21:09

Good luck for a safe labour, georgette x

georgettemagritte Fri 11-Jan-13 20:13:43

I'm 40+5 currently and living in fear of some of the things on this thread happening to me when I go into labour....(don't worry, I knew about a lot if these long before reading this thread!) I've had severe AND and extreme fatigue during pg and am worried about how well I'll recover from even a good birth. I have found that there's little support for MH issues in pregnancy as it is: I agree that many of the health complications women suffer in/after pregnancy and childbirth would never be tolerated if men experienced them routinely - and there would be much more research into "normal" pregnancy and its complications. There is so much about pg/birth that medical science is still clueless about, like it's some voodoo process where real research doesn't venture. I ask GP/midwife about whether even very minor things are normal and they genuinely have no idea. Can you imagine any other routine part of medicine where so little was known about normal and abnormal complications?

A long time ago I read Kate Figes' Life After Birth (now there's a scary book - but OP you may find it useful for this project as she lists all the things that can go wrong/possible damage). She mentions that pregnancy can trigger previously unknown multiple sclerosis in some women which terrified me. Does anyone know if this is true - I hadn't heard it before? I read the book at 26 to cure a particularly broody phase and OMG was it effective. Ordered it to reread after getting pg and had to stop a chapter in as it panicked me so much. They could use it in schools to cut teen pregnancy, it's that terrifying....

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 10-Jan-13 08:20:56


It's weird how easy it is to forget some of these things - it wasn't until I was most of the way through the thread that I remembered I was hospitalised for nearly a week with an infection shortly after DS2 was born and was on about five different IV antibiotics. Any other time in my life that would have been a major deal (and frankly I would have complained later about the crap treatment as I was in much longer than necessary) but, for me, I was so focused on DS2 and just getting through the days that it's very hazy when I look back.

AbigailAdams Wed 09-Jan-13 15:02:35

Yes mine went curly too!

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