A new study conducted by Finnish researchers has found that the risk of urinary incontinence raises slightly after vaginal birth, compared to women who deliver their children through C-section. The U.S. researchers stress the fact that C-section delivery comes with its own lists of risks, so choosing the right form of delivery should be up to the woman and doctors.
Women are often affected by urinary incontinence, with known risk factors for the condition including age, obesity, and childbirth, and yet the long-term effects of childbirth on urinary incontinence have long been unknown.
The researchers analyzed data from 16 studies where they found that vaginal childbirth was associated with an eight percent higher risk of urinary incontinence later on in life – that’s two times higher than cesarean delivery.
The association was found to be higher in younger women and decreased the longer the time from childbirth.
Coauthors Riikka Tahtinen and Kari Tikkinen said that the study, “provides important information about the causes of urgency and stress urinary incontinence in women … and [will] help women and their physicians make decisions regarding mode of delivery.”
The researchers also suggest that although C-section delivery has a lower risk of urinary incontinence, the other risks associated with that form of delivery outweigh the benefits.
Tahtinen explained, “A planned cesarean section increases the baby’s risk of needing emergency care and the mother’s risk of developing blood clot, bleeding as well as uterine rupture and placental adhesion disorders in subsequent pregnancies.”
Findings suggest that C-section deliveries account for 33 percent of U.S. deliveries.
Researchers suggest that doctors should inform women about the risks and benefits of both vaginal and C-section deliveries to help them choose which option is best for them.