Urinary Incontinence more likely following vaginal birth

A recent study looking at the likelihood of experiencing urinary incontinence in later life found that the likelihood is far greater following a single vaginal birth than following a single caesarean birth. The study questioned 6148 women and found that the prevalence of urinary incontinence trebled (10.1%) after a vaginal birth compared to caesarean (3.9%).

While the most significant risk factor for symptomatic prolapse was vaginal birth Maria Gyhagen (co-author of the paper) also pointed out that “There are many factors affecting urinary incontinence but obesity and ageing as well as obstetric trauma during childbirth are known to be three of the most important risk factors.”

So what does this mean in terms of birth planning?

While it is certainly an important finding it is just one more piece of information to take into account when evaluating the risks and benefits of both modes of birth. Alone, this increased risk of urinary incontinence should not be a reason to jump at choosing an caesarean birth. There are many other factors to consider and your own circumstances with regards your current (or planned) pregnancy should be taken into account before making any decision either way.

My book Caesarean Birth: A positive approach to preparation and recovery talks a lot about the benefits and risks of both modes of delivery and provides up to date research and statistics which you may wish to use to inform your debate with your practitioners.

‘Caesarean Birth: A positive approach…’ the details

Book blurb:

“Caesareans are a possible outcome of any birth. Even the most straightforward pregnancy can end this way. Being prepared for such an eventuality can significantly improve your chances of viewing a caesarean birth positively.

Unfortunately many antenatal classes and birth books give very little information about caesareans, leaving women unprepared for this mode of birth. This book has the facts and lots of ideas to help you prepare and recover:

– Why prepare for a caesarean birth?

– How to make the most of a caesarean birth, should you have one

– How to avoid a caesarean if possible

– How to improve your recovery

– What a caesarean birth is and why it might be necessary

– The benefits and risks of vaginal versus caesarean birth

– The implications of caesareans on future births

Covering every aspect of caesareans this book will help you to make confident, informed decisions about your birth. A positive birth experience will put you in a stronger position for your adventure into motherhood.

Reviews from the backcover:

“I am so glad I read this book before my birth. I didn’t intend having a caesarean but when it happened I wasn’t at all frightened and I fed ‘S’ in the recovery room. This book thoroughly demystified caesarean birth for me, it is a must read for anyone planning to have a baby and I will definitely be buying it for my friends.” Vicki (35)

“At long last pregnant women can get the unbiased and easily digestible information they need about caesareans. They can have useful discussions with their healthcare providers and make informed decisions about the birth of their baby” Bryan Beattie (MD FRCOG, Consultant in Fetal Medicine & Director of Innermost Secrets Ltd)

“Before reading it I had never considered what might happen if I needed a caesarean. I feel far more confident about my next birth.” Samantha (32)

“This book should be required reading for professionals to enable them to respond to the needs of an increasingly informed group of women.” Christa Greenacre (NCT teacher-retired)

The reviews have been very positive, thank you everyone.

I have listed the medical contributors for your information.

Amazon book review of ‘Caesarean Birth: A positive approach to preparation and recovery’

A lovely Amazon review for my caesarean book … thank you.

“As other reviews have pointed out, this book is a no-nonsense, practical and very informative guide which helps women to be prepared for caesarean as a possible outcome of any birth, and to make informed choices about the birth they want.

Although there are endless pregnancy guides available, most seem to mention caesarean birth only in passing and more than a few imply that caesarean is a drastic intervention to be avoided at almost any cost. However, as the author points out, there is no clear evidence that the overall risks for women planning small families are higher [than vaginal births]. Inexplicably, sufficient caesarean information is omitted from many antenatal classes despite the fact that many women will end up having the procedure. This lack of preparedness in itself is likely to contribute to a negative experience of caesarean birth.

It’s important to stress that that book does not promote planned caesarean over vaginal birth but rather aims to give women detailed information which enables them to consider the full range of choices for their birth, and to be prepared for the possibility of a caesarean even if they would prefer to attempt a natural birth. The author is scrupulously balanced and factual, backing up information given with detailed references. After reading it you will feel in a much better position to have an informed discussion with your medical advisers about your choices in your particular pregnancy circumstances.

One useful aspect of the book is that it distinguishes between planned and emergency caesareans. Statistics for straightforward planned caesareans are often lumped in with those for emergency caesareans performed after an attempted vaginal birth that has, by definition, encountered complications (hence the need for the caesarean). Unsurprisingly, outcomes for caesareans seem to be misleadingly bad when apples and oranges are compared in this confusing way. The author points out the difficulty of disentangling the negative outcomes often associated with caesareans from the condition or complications which lead to an emergency caesarean taking place.

This book is for those who suspect they are not getting the full picture from those with a natural birth agenda, and want clear, factual information in order to make a rational decision about the birth of their baby.”

Birth Trauma Association review ‘Caesarean Birth: A positive…’

“This is one of the most balanced books on caesarean section that I have ever read. It is practical, evidence based and unique in that it looks at the caesarean issue from all the perspectives; those who want a caesarean; those who want to avoid one and those who have had one or will need one. It examines the physical and emotional dimensions and provides invaluable and detailed information on the risks of caesarean versus vaginal birth and how to recover quickly.

An absolute must read because as Leigh East, the author, points out in Chapter 2 ‘a caesarean is the possible outcome of every birth’.”

Caesarean book recommended by Maureen Treadwell of the BTA

csectionsupport.co.uk review of ‘Caesarean Birth: A positive…’

csectionsupport.co.uk have reviewed the book “At last, a book that has turned a c-section into a positive birthing experience!  It is so important for women and their families that a c-section is no longer seen as a negative or a dreaded last resort. This book has turned those opinions on their heads.

Leigh writes in a straight forward, easy to understand manner and has taken a much needed positive approach to caesareans.  She has a refreshingly ‘real’ and honest approach to preparing yourself for the procedure and the recovery.  There are also some excellent chapters on how the surgery can affect partners, and also how to make the surgery itself a more special and fulfilling birthing process.

This book empowers women to feel in control of their birth experience, and the importance of that is vital.  I cannot recommend this book more highly and wish I had read it myself during my own pregnancy.  This book should be read by all expectant mothers, and also healthcare professionals who can unfortunately skirt around the issue, leaving women mentally and emotionally unprepared for such an event.” Alison Palmer (Editor csectionsupport.co.uk)