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Researchers Say Giving Birth Is Basically a High Intensity Sport
For some women, pregnancy and childbirth can be beautiful experiences while others recall it as being absolutely brutal. Either way, there's no denying that the process is incredibly grueling for the body. So much so, researchers are now saying that the damage it can do is similar to injuries from hardcore, intense sports, like marathons.
In a University of Michigan study, lead researcher Janice Miller gave women MRI exams, which is how doctors diagnose sports injuries.
The [scans] showed that one-quarter of women showed fluid in the pubic bone marrow or sustained fractures similar to a sports-related stress fracture, and two-thirds showed excess fluid in the muscle, which indicates injury similar to a severe muscle strain. Forty-one percent sustained pelvic muscle tears, with the muscle detaching partially or fully from the pubic bone.
Since many of the females examined were more at risk for birth-related injuries, those numbers aren't necessarily applicable to all mothers. Still, researchers emphasize that "up to 15 percent" of them will suffer from a "pelvic injury that won't heal."
Miller hopes that this information will inform doctors that pregnancy is definitely not the same for everyone. "Not all women feel fine after six weeks nor are ready to go back to work, and they aren't crazy," says Miller. In fact, research has shown that some women need up to "eight months or longer" to completely heal.
But again, every birth is different, and as far as treatment goes, one size definitely doesn't fit all. Miller sums it up with, "We're not saying that every woman who gives birth needs an MRI nor that women should not do Kegel exercises.
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