Shining a light on the stigma around childbirth-related injuries

We chat to the experts for advice for new mums.

Childbirth and becoming a new mum is a life-changing experience. But what about the physical and emotional trauma that can come along with it? According to Medibank research, 74% of the 1025 women who were surveyed experienced an injury or condition as a result of having vaginal childbirth in the last 5 years. And what’s most worrying is that 1 in 5 women (22%) said they’re not comfortable talking about their injuries with anyone -- believing there to be a stigma around discussing these.

If childbirth-related injuries and conditions are so common, why aren’t we talking about them? We spoke to Amy and Helen from Eastside Midwives, and new mum Amber-Lea to learn more. Watch the video to hear what they had to say.


Most common conditions facing women

Perineal tears were one of the most prevalent injuries reported, affecting 43% of women. This was followed by haemorrhoids, at 38%, damage to the pelvic floor and urinary incontinence -- both at 31%. Additionally, of those who experienced a childbirth-related injury or condition, 62% were still experiencing symptoms more than a year after birth.

Perineal tears are one of the most common injuries women report after vaginal birth. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that in 2018, three quarters of women had a tear or cut after giving birth vaginally. Less than 3% had a more severe ‘third or fourth degree laceration.’

The stigma around childbirth-related injuries

According to the Medibank research, more than half of the women (52%) thought there was a stigma around childbirth-related injuries and conditions. This could explain why 20% of women delayed seeking medical treatment for their injuries until symptoms persisted or worsened, and 21% still hadn’t sought treatment for their symptoms up to 5 years after giving birth.


Need a little extra support?

Health Concierge

Eligible members with hospital cover can now talk to a member of our Health Concierge team for advice and guidance on how to have a healthy pregnancy, at no extra cost on 1800 789 414.#

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Members with hospital cover can chat to experienced and qualified nurses over the phone to discuss any health questions or concerns and get professional advice on what to do next. Our nurses are available on 1800 644 325~ for round-the-clock health advice.

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Members with Hospital cover can talk with a mental health professional over the phone in relation to any mental health or emotional concern, 24 hours a day 7 days a week by calling 1800 644 325.~

Looking for something else?

Visit Medibank Planning, Pregnancy and Parenting for a range of tools and advice to help you at every stage of your pregnancy journey.

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Things you should know

~ OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.

# Health Concierge is available to all eligible Medibank members who hold hospital cover. Excludes Overseas Visitor Health Cover, Working Visa Health Cover and Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Some referred services may involve out of pocket costs.

While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees).