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Will my stoma change shape and size during pregnancy?

pregnancy scan image

Starting a family is something that many couples dream of and look forward to. If starting a family has always been a part of your life plan, then that doesn’t need to change just because you have a stoma! So, whether you’re planning on becoming a parent for the first time or wanting to add to your family, stomas certainly shouldn’t get in the way!

It’s completely normal to be curious about how your stoma will be affected by your pregnancy. One of the most common questions ostomates have is whether or not their stoma will change shape or size during their pregnancy. 

Read on to find out how you can expect your stoma to change during your pregnancy.

During pregnancy

It’s very likely that your stoma will change shape and size during your pregnancy, after all, big changes are taking place inside your body.

As your baby grows, he or she will inevitably move things around to make room for themselves! So as your tummy gets bigger, you can expect your stoma to change in size and shape slightly. Additionally, depending on the location of your stoma, you may experience a prolapse or retraction.

Prolapse means that your stoma pushes it’s way further out so that more flesh is outside of your body. On the flip side, retraction is where your stoma retracts inward. Neither of these are cause for concern and are actually really common amongst pregnant women with stomas. However, they can cause a bit of difficulty when it comes to your stoma bag, therefore it’s a good idea to try out a few different products to find what works best for you during your pregnancy. Additionally, it’s best to order small quantities of your stoma supplies because it’s likely your needs will change throughout your pregnancy, so stick to small quantities to avoid any stoma bags going to waste. 

As you get to the later stages of pregnancy, you may find that you can no longer see your stoma which can make it difficult to change your bag. One way around this that many women find useful is to place a mirror on a bathroom counter so that you can see your stoma and care for it as you need to. 

Potential side effects

One thing to keep in mind is that occasionally, pregnancy can cause small episodes of intestinal indigestion where the enlarging uterus can cause a standstill of the intestinal contents. Keeping yourself hydrated can help to resolve this, however, on rare occasions, a trip to the hospital may be necessary. 

Giving birth

When it comes to giving birth, the preferred method of delivery will always be natural, even if you have a stoma. Doctors will try to avoid having to carry out a caesarean delivery because of the scar tissue that may have formed during your surgery. 

One thing to remember is to empty your pouch after you’ve given birth due to the physical exertion involved in the delivery and the change in size and firmness of your abdomen.

You can find out more about pregnancy as an ostomate here.

After your pregnancy

The good news is, many women find that soon after they’ve given birth, their stoma quickly goes back to its original shape and size, meaning you can focus on enjoying your new addition to the family. 

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