Yes, even more traumatic than endurance sports like running a marathon.
The researchers used MRI equipment typically used to diagnose sports injuries to explore the full scope of trauma that a woman's body experiences during childbirth. The MRI images revealed that almost 25 percent of women had fluid in the pubic bone marrow or fractures that are similar to stress fractures that athletes often suffer. And 41 percent of women had pelvic muscle tears.
Also revealed by the study is the startling statistic that 15 percent of women never fully recover from the birth-related pelvic injuries.
So when doctors tell women that they should be recovered in six weeks if they had a vaginal birth, they're not always right. In fact, it can take some women up to eight months or longer to fully recover post-delivery.
According to Janis Miller, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, "We have this thing where we tell women, 'Well, you're six weeks postpartum and now we don't need to see you—you'll be fine.' But not all women feel fine after six weeks nor are ready to go back to work, and they aren't crazy."
Miller continues, "Women with pelvic injuries often feel like something isn't right, but they don't understand why and can't get answers from physicians." Such injuries can lead to bladder issues and organ prolapse. And no amount of Kegel exercises can fix that.
Miller hopes that this research encourages more doctors to stop taking a one-size-fits-all approach to postpartum recovery and take each mother's concern seriously. She also encourages moms who feel like they are experiencing a delayed recovery or non-average symptoms to seek the help of a specialist.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again, moms are truly amazing for all that they go through.