Women who experience incontinence issues after childbirth are suffering in “silence”, with more than a third embarrassed to discuss it with a health professional, according to new survey.
It found 38% of those who developed incontinence after giving birth were self-conscious speaking about the problem with a clinician, which the National Childbirth Trust described as “worrying”.
In addition, 33% of women who developed urinary incontinence after childbirth were embarrassed to discuss it with their partner, and 46% were uncomfortable talking about it with friends.
The online survey was carried out for the NCT by Survation in June. It involved 1,515 UK adults aged over 18 with a child aged less than two years of age.
NCT head of knowledge Dr Sarah McMullen said: “We know that many find it a difficult and embarrassing subject to raise. But if we can break the taboo, we can bring about a change that will dramatically improve the lives of thousands of women.”
“We hope that speaking out about the subject will reassure women that they are not alone and that treatment is available – incontinence is not something they need to shy away from talking about,” she said.
Dr McMullen noted that most cases of urinary incontinence could be treated through pelvic floor exercises, adding that women should aim to do at least three sets per day.
The Royal College of Midwives urged women not to feel embarrassed about broaching the subject.
RCM director for England Jacque Gerrard said: “During pregnancy women’s bodies go through many changes and it’s vital they feel they can talk to their midwife or healthcare professional so get the best possible advice, support and care.