The Secret (and Often Ignored) Side-Effect of Child-Birth That Shouldn't Be Secret Anymore

Are you keeping your ABL a secret? 
While giving birth results in a beautiful baby to be enjoyed, many happy moments, wonderful memories, and so much more, it can also have some negative side effects. I remember with my first pregnancy the worst side effect I could imagine was stretch marks. I religiously drank my water and rubbed my belly with lotion to help skin elasticity and prevent stretch marks. 

I had lots of silly fears during that pregnancy. I remember I was terrified of pooping on the table while giving birth, and told my husband not to look because I was afraid it would cloud his view of me.

However, these “side effects” are very minor, but childbirth could result in more serious complications. Childbirth can cause damage to the pelvic floor muscles, sphincter, and nerve damage. For some women this means urinary incontinence, and for others it means fecal incontinence or ABL. The problems may not appear until years later, or they may be just temporary.

Potential side effects of childbirth include:
  • Injuries to nerves during labor and delivery
  • Tearing of muscle during delivery
  • Damage to muscles as the result of forceps use to during delivery
  • Episiotomy: doctors make a cut in the vaginal area to ease delivery
One of the rarely spoken of, and often ignored side effects of childbirth is ABL, accidental bowel leakage. I was so worried about pooping on the table during delivery, and didn’t even consider accidental leakage AFTER the baby is born.

When we eat, and the food is digested, the remaining waste, or stool moves toward the rectum, the tube linking the intestine to the anus. Once the rectum is full, the stretch receptors or nerves in the rectal walls stimulate the desire to defecate, and we go. The external sphincter allows the stool to pass, with the helps of muscles.

If the sphincter muscle does not work properly, possibly because it was damaged during labor, this can lead to leakage of stool at inopportune times. This might mean a little stool or fluid passing with gas, or before the individual is ready. These sphincter muscles can be damaged through stretching or tearing, especially if forceps are used, or if the mother has an episiotomy.

So why don’t women talk about this? Well it is embarrassing and personal, but also because most women don’t think there is anything they can do about it. And that is where they are wrong. There are treatment options, some work better than others, and they depend on the person and severity of damage.

Medications, bowel training, biofeedback and muscles strengthening, and surgery are all treatment options. There are also options for managing ABL. Especially light to moderate ABL, which is most common with pregnancy related damage. Women with ABL need absorbent products that are discreet, that prevent unpleasant odors, and that offer affordable protection that works for their lifestyle. A great option to fill these needs that is not a traditional, bulky, or adult diaper product is the B-Sure Absorbent Pad. It has a unique design for fit, protection, and comfort. It offers targeted protection for light to moderate ABL, at an affordable price point.

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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