Will a stoma affect my pregnancy?
For many men and women across the globe, starting a family and having children is natural desire to have. Of course, with any pregnancy, there are plenty of new experiences which are bound to cause a mixture of nervousness and excitement. If you have had an stoma and are hoping to start a family, there many misleading pieces of information around the idea of sexual relationships and pregnancy with a stoma.
In actual fact, you shouldn’t worry. With the birth of the royal baby here, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to answer some of the pregnancy-related questions that we receive from ostomates.
Should I see a doctor first?
If possible, we would always recommend that you visit your doctor or GP if you are planning on conceiving in order to confirm that you are fit to go ahead. The vast majority of women with stomas breeze through their pregnancies with no issues whatsoever, however, visiting a medical expert will give you the opportunity to ask any questions and discuss what sort of things to expect during your pregnancy.
Is my pouch going to be affected as my tummy gets bigger?
In many cases, the stoma continues to work just how it should all the way through pregnancy. Remember that your body is going through a number of changes which might require extra fluids, so be prepared to up your fluid intake to balance this out.
Occasionally, pregnancy can cause small episodes of intestinal indigestion where the enlarging uterus can result in a standstill of the intestinal contents. If this happens, the stoma might briefly cease working and you may feel a small colicky pain. However, increasing fluid intake can also help to resolve this issue. On rare occasions, a visit to hospital might be required to ‘rest’ the intestine through and intravenous drip.
As your skin and muscles stretch and your tummy gets bigger, your stoma might enlarge slightly. Whilst this might cause a small amount of prolapse of the intestine into your pouch, don’t worry as this normal and not generally a danger to health.
Do I need to adjust my diet during pregnancy?
You probably know of somebody who has experienced some odd food cravings during their pregnancy! Whilst you shouldn’t need to drastically adjust the food that you’re eating, you might find that certain foods become more desirable than they have done before. As a rule, try to eat plenty of protein-packed foods such as eggs meat and make sure that you fit plenty of vegetables in. Where possible, avoid any raw egg or unpasteurised dairy products.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should not consume alcohol or smoke during your pregnancy as these could seriously harm the developing baby.
Will I require a cesarean delivery?
Even if you have a stoma, the preferred method of delivery will always be natural, if possible. Doctors will try to avoid having to carry out a cesarean delivery because of the scar tissue that may have formed during your surgery.
Following on from delivery, you can expect your stoma to return back to normal in a matter of weeks.
Pregnancy is a daunting prospect but a magical one at the same time. Just because you have a stoma does not mean that you can’t enjoy a happy and healthy pregnancy. Many ostomates say that childbirth has given them the ultimate reassurance of normality following on from their illnesses.
If you have got any questions about pregnancy as an ostomate, you can always feel free to get in touch with one of our healthcare nurses or speak to your doctor for expert advice. Best wishes for an enjoyable pregnancy!