40M postpartum women have lingering health issues

More than a third of mothers — around 40 million women — are affected by lingering health issues after giving birth, according to a new study published Dec. 6 in The Lancet Global Health.

However, many of the issues they report experiencing after giving birth extend long after they stop receiving postpartum care, which is where the major issues lie, according to the researchers.

The authors found that after giving birth, 32% of women report low back pain, 19% experience anal incontinence, 11% experience perineal pain, 8-31% are affected by urinary incontinence, and around 11% are affected by secondary infertility issues. Mental health issues like anxiety and depression are also pervasive. Some women even develop a phobia of childbirth after entering their postpartum phase.

"Many postpartum conditions cause considerable suffering in women’s daily life long after birth, both emotionally and physically, and yet they are largely underappreciated, underrecognized, and underreported," Pascale Allotey, PhD, director of sexual and reproductive health research at the World Health Organization, stated in a Dec. 6 news release shared with Becker's.

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