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A 24-year-old member asked:

How does vaginal child birth lead to stress incontinence in women?

6 doctor answers19 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeff Livingston
Obstetrics and Gynecology 22 years experience
Damaged muscles: Childbirth can be traumatic to the muscles and nerves surrounding the bladder, vagina and rectum. The nerves can be damaged and small tears in the muscles can lead to prolapse and incontinence is some women. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. It is common and fixable.
Dr. Earle Pescatore
Obstetrics and Gynecology 32 years experience
Yes it can: It is very common for women to experience stress incontinence following delivery. It typically resolves within 3 months. I would encourage you to do kegel exercises daily. I usually suggest 3 sets of 10 squeezes, trying to hold each squeeze for 5 seconds. If it persists beyond this time frame i would encourage you to seek evaluation from your delivering provider.
Dr. Dennis Higginbotham
Obstetrics and Gynecology 30 years experience
Pelvic relaxation: Vaginal delivery results in damage to the pelvic support that allows the bladder, urethra, uterus, rectum, and vagina to begin to drop in the pelvis. Some women end up with the pelvic organs dropping out through the opening of the vagina. Some of them will require surgery to repair the damage and decrease the symptoms.
Dr. Michael Hulse
Gynecology 27 years experience
Tissue damage.: As the baby passes through the birth canal it can cause damage to the supportive tissues around the vagina, bladder, urethra and rectum. In time this can lead to mobility in the urethra and leaking urine with certain activities. It can also result in dropping or prolapse of the pelvic organs.
Dr. Robert Bennett
Urology 30 years experience
STRESS INC.: The stretching of the bladder neck , sphincter and urethra which all live in the place the baby came out effects it. Kegel excersizes can be very helpful along with other pelvic floor excersizes and rehab.
Dr. Michael Hulse
Gynecology 27 years experience
Tissue damage.: There's a complex system of supportive structures around the bladder, the rectum, the vagina, the urethra and the uterus that provide support to this area. Vaginal childbirth can damage all of these structures. This can result in stress incontinence and other pelvic floor issues like prolapse - when the bladder, the rectum, or the uterus fall down toward or through the vaginal opening.

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Last updated Dec 13, 2020

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