New study says childbirth is just as traumatic as sports endurance injuries

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 15, 2016)-- Most women who have had a child will tell you the childbirth experience was one of the toughest things they've ever put their body through. Well now a new study is taking a closer look at the impact of childbirth and the lasting damage it can leave behind.

They're cute and cuddly and bring so much joy to families but researchers say having a baby is just as traumatic as endurance sports when it comes to injuries. Researchers from the University of Michigan found 15 percent of women sustain pelvic injuries during child birth that don't heal.

"Every woman has a risk of that. Every woman if she delivers vaginally has a risk of muscle strain, the muscle pulling, the muscle stretching," said Dr. Michelle Jones-Singer.

Researchers used an MRI machine to diagnose childbirth injuries, a technique often used to find sports injuries. They found in some cases the women took up to eight months to heal from pelvic injuries and kegel exercises didn't work at all for some new moms.

"A woman's muscles are stretched during a vaginal delivery. So even doing kegels they can be so gaping a big gap between the muscles meeting each other and being able to contract," said Dr. Jones-Singer.

Dr. Jones-Singer says women have been treated in a once size fits all fashion during postpartum. She wants women to know it's not normal for your body not to return to its pre-delivery state. She performs several procedures in Indianapolis to repair the damage

"So what can be done are things like a vaginoplasty where the muscles are re-approximated. Where the vaginal mucosa a portion of it is removed and the muscles are put back together."

Dr. Jones-Singer wants women to seek help to get your full pre-baby body back.

"But many times we don't talk about it. Those are not things we say to our girlfriends, to our gynecologist. But the important thing to know is it is real and it can be repaired."

Researchers say they're not implying all new moms should have an MRI. However, they want women to seek a specialist if they have delayed recovery and extreme discomfort.