Pregnancy with an Ostomy

I’m an IBD blogger and mother of 2 feral kiddies – just kidding, they’re adorable 5% of the time 😉 So I get a lot of questions about pregnancy and how our bodies should work and if natural labor is possible.

Every single pregnancy and every single body is different

But this is what I found important to know. Please do your own research too when deciding for yourself.

Research – I researched and read over every single medical article I could find about giving birth naturally. Generally, the consensus was that getting pregnant was sometimes difficult, but, assuming the baby and mother was healthy, there was no reason for a baby not to be born vaginally.

Hernia – They are painful, and I learnt that one the hard way. I picked up a 10kg baby while heavily pregnant and got a hernia at the top of my stoma. Luckily because it was above the stoma, when I gave birth it resolved itself because the bowel sits back into the pelvic cavity and won’t be pushing against the wall of the abdomen. From the moment, you find out you are pregnant, speak to your ostomy nurse or supplier about a hernia belt. BUT REMEMBER – Do NOT cut the hernia belt or you will compromise the integrity of the belt and it won’t work. The belt is to be supportive not restrictive tight. You can avoid leaks by ensuring there is a bit of air in your bag before wrapping the belt on.

Location of Bowel – When you are pregnant as the baby grows it pushes all your organs into your rib cage which includes your bowel. So normally your bowel sits low it will now sit up high! This can mean you may get a stomal prolapse – where the stoma comes out longer than before.

C-Section vs Vaginal Delivery – At the end of the day the only thing that matters is that your baby arrive safely and you are healthy. I personally feel that a C-section is too risky and hard on my body considering the amount of surgery I’ve had and I believed in my body to know what to do and I was right 🙂

Right Medical Support System – Do not accept right away that you don’t have a choice. It’s important that you do what is right for you and your family. Get a TEAM of doctors who are on your page. This includes having a Stomal nurse for the pregnancy and changing stoma sizes, Colorectal Surgeon, Gastroenterologist and your Obstetrician. They all need to work together. When I was induced I only had my OB but all my surgeons and my GI were notified and on standby in case things didn’t go to plan.

Flares in Pregnancy – You have a 50/50 chance of it going either way. Some people go into remission and some people have massive flares. Speak to your GI about the options of preventative medications before getting pregnant, or plans for potential flares during pregnancy. I chose to start my Azathiroprine during my second pregnancy because the risk of a flare was too high for my body.

Pain – No it’s not normal and if anything feels not quite right, then go and get checked out. Better safe than sorry.

Trust your Gut (it will be the only time haha)!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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