Do you think you could be living with an injury or condition from childbirth? Rest assured, you’re not alone.
New Medibank research1 has found that nearly 3 in 4 Australian women (74%) who had a vaginal birth in the last five years experienced one or more injuries as a result. Perineal tears were one of the most prevalent injuries reported, affecting 43%, while other common injuries included haemorrhoids, at 38%, as well as damage to the pelvic floor and urinary incontinence (both at 31%).
“It’s alarming to see how many women are experiencing perineal tears, given we know this injury can have a debilitating effect on a woman’s day-to-day life," says Medibank Medical Director Dr Kevin Cheng.
"It’s important to note, this is not necessarily a reflection of poor quality care -- there could be a number of reasons why we’re seeing such a high incidence. For example, size of the baby, a prolonged second stage labour, the positioning of the baby or simply giving birth for the first time.”
The research revealed 62% of those who had a childbirth-related injury or condition are still experiencing symptoms more than one year after birth. What’s more, one in five women (20%) delayed seeking medical treatment for their injuries until symptoms persisted or worsened, and concerningly 21% reported they still hadn’t sought treatment for their symptoms up to five years after giving birth.