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It has been a common practice for decades in all hospitals, but at present not all centers implement this treatment. Should a pregnant woman be given an enema during childbirth? In which cases is it more advisable? What are the advantages, if any? If you are about to give birth, surely you have all these doubts. Let's see one by one!
We could specify that 'each teacher has his booklet', that is, depending on the specialist who attends the mother in childbirth, he will indicate whether or not it is necessary to put it, but there is no official opinion on this treatment. In fact, comparative studies to assess the women who put it in relation to those who have not do not show significant differences that cause the balance to tip one way or the other.
First of all it is convenient to explain, What is an enema? It is a liquid that is administered anally to empty the colon. Enemas can be done for medical or hygienic reasons, for diagnostic purposes, or as part of other therapies.
When labor is natural, that is, it is not induced, it is likely that the intestine has prepared spontaneously and has sufficiently evacuated the days before delivery, performing an intestinal cleansing that will avoid the enema. And, in these cases, it would not be recommended.
It is also not necessary if the mother has had diarrhea in those previous days because the rectum will be clean enough and an enema could cause discomfort, stinging ... But it does seem to be indicated in the case of having been constipated or if labor is induced, since that cleaning will not have occurred.
If, during the examination of the mother, the specialist considers that there is an excess of retained stool, it is advisable to put it in, as it could make it difficult for the baby's head to fit easily.
In many hospitals, the mother is presented with 'The birth plan', in which different questions are asked to which consent must be given. Among them is the enema. And that's where you can decide with complete freedom, but so that you have enough criteria to decide, I want to help you:
- When an enema is given, the intestine moves and so does the uterus by proximity. This move is good because it causes labor starts earlier.
- Many women find it unpleasant to take an enema, because when they are pushing they do not know if you are doing it with the uterus or it is the intestine that is in motion. The pressure that is exerted makes everything come out, including the stool. It is not a serious situation (just annoying) for the fetus because midwives are always aware that there is no contamination for the mother or the baby.
- Does it prevent infections? Women who have not had the enema have not been reported to have more infections or to have a higher risk of the baby for illness. The midwife or obstetrician is always very vigilant that it is not contaminated.
- A clean rectum makes it easier for the baby to come out. If there is not enough gap, it will always be more difficult.
In any case, many women prefer not to wear it for reasons of modesty, since they believe that they will feel violent if they expel stool when pushing. Sometimes thinking about this situation generates such stress that it prevents you from living the moment in a calm way. If you are going to feel better and have not been offered the enema, tell the staff who treat you so they can assess it.
It is always convenient and respectful, to agree with the mother and ask her if she would like to undergo this practice. It is the most correct attitude! Sometimes it can be thought that it is an aggression, but I do not believe in that idea, because whenever it is done it will be either because the mother has made the decision or because the specialist may consider the benefit of this treatment in the face of a better delivery .
Text: Olga García, Gynecologist at SESMI (Spanish Society of Health and Integrative Medicine)
You can read more articles similar to Enema in childbirth. Your doubts about this practice before giving birth, in the On-Site Delivery category.