Unspoken complication of childbirth

May 15, 2018, Cardiff University
Unspoken complication of childbirth
Credit: Cardiff University

Cardiff University doctors are on a mission to improve diagnosis times and treatment for women in Wales who suffer anal sphincter injuries in childbirth.

There is currently a large discrepancy between services in Wales and the rest of the UK, with patients in Wales not having routine access to treatments such as physiotherapy, and a large variation in the amount of training and support that is offered to midwives and obstetricians.

By hosting the first MASIC (Mothers with Anal Sphincter Injuries in Childbirth) training day, the first of its kind in Wales, the doctors at Cardiff University's National Surgical Training Centre for Wales hope to improve awareness amongst clinicians of the full impact of the condition on women and their families, and start the first patient support group for women in Wales to access information and advice.

An anal sphincter (AS) injury commonly affects first-time mothers who give birth vaginally. Approximately 3.7 percent of child births in Wales result in such injuries with over 10 percent of mothers who give birth through the birth canal developing some form of faecal incontinence, such as inability to hold wind or stools. There may also be urgency issues and associated anxiety.

Women rarely volunteer information about their injury because of the embarrassment and associated social stigma. They often suffer in silence and are very alone. Depression, anxiety and a multitude of psychological effects may also impact heavily on a woman with an AS injury.

The new workshop is designed to build networks of interested clinicians, provide training and developing clear pathways which will allow patients to access investigations and treatments more quickly. Currently it is estimated that it takes 7 years on average for a patient to be diagnosed and referred to an appropriate specialist.

This condition not only affects the woman but has a ripple effect that can damage family relations, bonding and physical contact, not only with the partner but also with the child. Feelings of isolation, degradation and irritability are common for women with faecal incontinence.

The workshop is being clinically lead by Mrs Julie Cornish, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, and Mrs Nadia Bhal, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology Cwm Taf University Health Board.

"I attended the launch of the MASIC foundation in London and the most vivid recollection is from listening to a MASIC mum's story on how living with faecal incontinence affected not only her life, but her partners and her children. As clinicians it is too easy for us to focus on the physical but the MASIC workshops allow staff to gain a holistic view of the condition. It has really inspired me to drive service improvement in Wales," said Mrs Julie Cornish, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Cardiff and Vale UHB.

Mrs Nadia Bhal, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology Cwm Taf UHB, added: "As an Obstetrician with a special interest in Perineal trauma I have been involved in national and international work to deliver training and support for midwives and doctors. Attending the launch of MASIC was different. Listening to the brave MASIC mother's stories really moved me.

"MASIC ignited my passion to continue working in raising awareness, provide training in evidence based practice, to do everything we can to prevent these injuries from happening and provide the best level of care for MASIC mothers following childbirth."

Explore further: Overall incidence of obstetric anal sphincter injury 4.9 percent

Related Stories

Overall incidence of obstetric anal sphincter injury 4.9 percent

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—The incidence of obstetric anal sphincter injury is 4.9 percent, and risk factors include vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery and prolonged duration of second stage of labor, according to a study published online ...

Spotting mental illness in new mothers

March 15, 2012
A new on-line tool and DVD developed by University experts to help midwives identify and treat new mothers at risk of severe mental illness has been officially launched by the Chief Nursing Officer for Wales and Honorary ...

Why suicide rates among pregnant women in Nepal are rising

March 8, 2018
Huge numbers of pregnant women and new mothers are taking their own lives in Nepal as they deal with extreme poverty, natural disasters, domestic violence and oppression. Research shows suicide represents 16% of all deaths ...

Midwives bring birth back to Nunavik

June 20, 2016
In a remote northern community in the province of Quebec, Ryerson midwifery professor Vicki Van Wagner is seeing the benefits of bringing birth back home.

Urinary incontinence is common also in women who have not given birth

November 9, 2016
Women who have not given birth often end up under the radar for research on urinary incontinence. In a study of this group, however, one in five women over 45 years say they experience this type of incontinence.

Why are cancer patients with pre-existing disabilities reporting poorer care?

October 26, 2017
Researchers at Cardiff University are exploring the reasons why cancer patients with physical impairments experience greater problems in accessing healthcare compared to the general population.

Recommended for you

Why mothers in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan choose cesarean delivery

October 16, 2018
Pregnant women in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are more likely to express preference for cesarean section (CS) as their mode of delivery later in pregnancy and postpartum, as compared to early in pregnancy, according ...

Importance of cell cycle and cellular senescence in the placenta discovered

October 15, 2018
Working with researchers from Stanford University and St. Anna Children's Cancer Research, researchers from Jürgen Pollheimer's laboratory at the Medical University of Vienna's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology have ...

C-section rates have nearly doubled since 2000: study

October 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—The number of women delivering babies via cesarean section has nearly doubled worldwide since 2000, to about 21 percent, new research shows.

Study of nearly 41,000 women who almost died giving birth shows who's most at risk

October 10, 2018
Tens of thousands of American women each year need emergency treatment to save their lives while they deliver their babies, or immediately after. A new study shows how much their risk of a life-threatening birth depends on ...

In childbirth, when to begin pushing does not affect C-section rates

October 9, 2018
More than 3 million women in the United States give birth each year. But obstetricians have differing opinions about when women should begin pushing during labor and whether the timing of pushing increases the likelihood ...

Why single embryo transfer during IVF sometimes results in twins or triplets

October 8, 2018
It has been known for some time that it is better to transfer a single embryo to a woman's womb during assisted reproduction treatment (ART) rather than several embryos in order to avoid a multiple pregnancy and the risks ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.