Pregnancy and Childbirth with a Stoma

Compiled by Susan and Helen.

Young Ostomates United saw somewhat of a baby boom in the mid 1990s.  We asked some of our young mums how they survived pregnancy and childbirth with a stoma.

Our young mums are:

Anna with Joshua - has an ileostomy for Ulcerative Colitis
Helen with Ryan, Shae & Paige - has an ileostomy for Crohn's Disease
Susan with Dean - has an ileostomy for Ulcerative Colitis
Teddi with Ian and twins George & Natalie - has a colostomy
Fran with Victoria & Ben - has an ileostomy for Ulcerative Colitis.

Was it difficult to get pregnant?  If so, what treatment ensued?
 We'd been trying for about a year.  I had hormonal problems but once that was sorted out, I fell pregnant.
Helen: Not really.
Susan:  We had been trying for nearly 5 years.  After initial investigation, which showed I had blocked tubes we were referred for IVF treatment.  This was our 4th attempt at IVF and Dean was the result of a frozen embryo.  We still have 3 frozen embryos.
Teddi:  Yes, we'd been trying for about 3 years.  We have unexplained infertility and we were told IVF would probably work for us.  Our 2nd attempt resulted in a pregnancy.
Fran:  Yes.  Victoria was born before I had Ulcerative Colitis so it did take 4 years of trying after my surgery to get pregnant.  Fertility investigations proved there was nothing wrong with me and we kept trying.

Were you under the care of a specialist?
  Yes, an obstetrician.
Helen:  Obstetrician/Gynaecologist
Susan:  Obstetrician/Gynaecologist
Teddi:  Obstetrician/Gynaecologist
Fran:  I was a public patient seeing a Gynaecologist.

Did you have any difficulties or problems in your pregnancy /pregnancies?
  Yes, foetal distress, because the placenta was not functioning properly.
Helen:  With one pregnancy, my waters broke and I went into labour before I was due to have a caesarean.  Between pregnancies I had 3 miscarriages.
Susan:  At 17 weeks I had a threatened abortion due to placenta praevia, and had a two week stay in hospital to rest then I had to take it easy.
Teddi:  Ruptured membranes at 28 weeks and I stayed in hospital until 35 weeks when I was induced.
Fran:  I had no difficulties, if anything my second pregnancy was better than my first.

What sort of delivery did you have? Was it for any particular reason?
  Because of foetal distress I had to have a caesarean.  I didn't go into full labour.
Helen:  Because of a small pelvis, all my births were elective caesareans.
Susan:  My obstetrician didn't want me to go into labour because of scar tissue.  I had a planned caesarean as a natural delivery wasn't possible.
Teddi:  I was induced, but it didn't work so I had an emergency caesarean.
Fran:  I was in labour for 8 hours and had a forceps delivery.  Scar tissue near my perineum prevented it from stretching as much as it should have.  Overall the birth was fairly easy although the labour was 4 hours longer than my first pregnancy.

If you had a caesarean, which way was the incision made and why?
 Horizontal, because of scar tissue.  The scar didn't heal straight away.
Helen:  Vertical.  The old scar was used and is now a bit wider.  It won't stretch anymore, so I was advised not to have any more children.
Susan:  Vertical.  He used the old scar and it is now a bit wider.
Teddi:  Horizontal, because of scar tissue.

Were you in good health during your pregnancy?
 Yes, no morning sickness.
Helen: Yes, no morning sickness.
Susan:  Not really, I had morning sickness (day & night) from about week 6 to week 14.  Then I had the threatened abortion at 17 weeks.  From weeks 20 to 30 I had weekly bowel obstructions, which occurred no matter what I ate.
Teddi:  Yes, although I felt a bit nauseous but I had no vomiting.
Fran: I was very well.

Did your stoma change during pregnancy?
 Yes, it got bigger.
Helen: Got bigger.
Susan: Got bigger.
Teddi: Got bigger.
Fran: No, my stoma stayed much the same.

Did you experience any problems with appliances due to abdomen size?
  No problems.
Helen:  No problems really.  I had to use a mirror when I got bigger in the last months,
Susan:  No, I went up a size or two.
Teddi:  No, I had no trouble irrigating.
Fran: No problems.

Reprinted from the "Thoughts of YOU" membership folder.  Compiled 1995 (updated 1997).

For more personal experiences related to pregnancy and childbirth see Helen and Jane's stories.

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