Vaginal Electrical Stimulation for Postpartum neuromuscular Recovery (VESPR)

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

For too many women, childbirth results in devastating consequences: involuntary loss of feces or urine (fecal or urinary incontinence). In fact, fifty to eighty percent of women with severe tears during childbirth develop these problems. These new mothers avoid leaving home in order to stay close to a toilet, wear protective pads every day, and avoid activities they previously enjoyed such as exercise and sexual intercourse. It is not surprising that many of these women suffer from postpartum depression, and bonding with their newborns is compromised.

Fecal and urinary incontinence occur due to injuries to the pelvic nerves and muscles during childbirth. Many researchers have focused on what can be done to prevent these injuries; however, few have investigated how to help the countless women who have already suffered from these injuries to the nerves and muscles. In other fields such as orthopedics and neurology, research shows that electrical stimulation can provoke nerve regeneration after injury. Applying this technology to women who have recently suffered from nerve injury during childbirth could have profound and life-changing effects. We hypothesize that electrical stimulation immediately postpartum will markedly help pelvic nerves regenerate, minimizing rates of fecal and urinary incontinence for this vulnerable population of new mothers.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/1/158/31/20

Funding

  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital (AGMT-9/10/15)

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