Why aren’t doctors paying more attention to injured mothers?
In our culture, new mothers face a tremendous amount of pressure. In addition to caring for a new child, many women are expected to recover quickly and get back to their normal lives very soon after giving birth.
Unfortunately, many new moms struggle with postpartum pain while trying to adjust to motherhood. Many try to ignore it, hoping that it will go away on its own, but studies show that this pain is often serious and frequently misdiagnosed.
Why is postpartum pain so widely ignored?
Nearly 30 percent of new mothers show evidence of pubic bone fractures without having any idea that they are there. And nearly half of women experience incontinence a year after giving birth.
If these problems are so pervasive, why aren’t they being better addressed? And why do we so rarely hear about them?
- Women might assume that pain after childbirth is normal and suffer in silence. Some internalize their pain and feel ashamed that they are not recovering as quickly as they feel they should. To make matters worse, many doctors do not take women’s reports of pain seriously.
- By their very nature, most pelvic exams neglect the pelvic floor, which is responsible for many postpartum injuries. Many doctors overlook the pelvic floor, focusing instead on the uterus and cervix.
- Many OBs are not trained to handle injuries that are not seen as critical or life-threatening. Doctors and residents are expected to get through exams quickly, and many don’t feel equipped to deal with pelvic floor pain.
No one knows your body better than you do. If you have concerns about your health after giving birth, do not allow your doctor to wave them off. If you have been seriously hurt, prompt treatment offers the best chance of minimizing your pain and returning life to normal.
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