6 Facts About Childbirth With a Stoma

Going into labour and giving birth with a stoma should not be causes for worry. However, there are a few things you should know.

5 Facts about Childbirth with an Ostomy

Prepare for childbirth with a stoma.

Are you concerned about going through the childbirth process? The good news is that a woman with an ostomy can have a normal labour and delivery. If your reproductive organs are undamaged and working normally after surgery, there should be no issues.

Here are six things to know before that special day:

  1. Your pouch will need to be changed after the birth. This is due to the physical exertion of delivery and the change in the shape and firmness of your abdomen. Before you go to the hospital, pack a bag with everything you need for pouch changes.
  2. If you have a urostomy, you shouldn’t expect any problems during labour. If you have had a colostomy and your rectum has been removed, you may worry that you won’t be able to have a vaginal delivery. But, removal of the rectum is only a problem if there is damage to the nerve supply.
  3. If the rectum has been removed and there is scar tissue in your perineum (the area between the vagina and the original site of the anus), an episiotomy may be needed. This is a small cut to enlarge the vaginal opening, making birth easier and preventing vaginal tearing. Episiotomies are also common in women who have rectums, so it’s not an unusual experience during delivery.
  4. Sometimes a Caesarean section delivery is necessary.  Usually if your physician feels you need a Caesarean section, it will be discussed with you in advance. If you end up having this procedure, your healthcare professional will discuss expectations with you.
  5. After the birth, breastfeeding can be an important bonding experience and your stoma shouldn’t interfere. Empty your pouch before feeding your baby. An active infant could dislodge a pouch or cause it to leak. If you have any breastfeeding issues, contact a lactation consultant at your hospital or www.ilca.org.
  6. Concerned about your condition and your child’s health? There’s no firm hereditary connection with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or cancer. However, there is with a condition known as familial polyposis coli (FPC) or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Genetic counselling may be advisable, if these conditions exist.

Download the full pdf: Living with an Ostomy: Sex & Parenthood