Obstetric Fistula

One of the more tragic childbirth injuries, obstetric fistula develops when after prolonged, often unassisted childbirth, a hole develops in the mother’s bladder or rectum causing incontinence. In many developing countries, the resulting stench and shame lead to the affected mother becoming a social outcast, robbing her of dignity and respect. Obstetric fistula can be more common when female genital mutilation has occurred. Child marriage and pregnancy before the girl is fully grown are other factors for obstetric fistula. For the over 2 million women living with obstetric fistula, surgical repair can restore their dignity and allow them to reintegrate into their societies. Adequate prenatal care, access to trained birth attendants, and delayed marriage can help thousands of others avoid this devastating affliction.

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