Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming, especially if you have a stoma. In this guide, we’ll provide some tips and advice to help you prepare for this amazing journey.
First and foremost, we want to reassure you that having an ostomy does not preclude you from having a healthy pregnancy. Many women with stomas have healthy babies and uncomplicated deliveries. However, it is important to be aware of some of the unique challenges that may arise during pregnancy and to take appropriate steps to manage them.
Pregnancy complications with a stoma
Pregnancy can increase the risk of complications for women with a stoma. Some of these complications include:
- Blockages in the stoma
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Skin irritation around the stoma
- Stoma prolapse or retraction
Managing your stoma during pregnancy
Managing your stoma during pregnancy can be challenging, and it’s important to maintain good stoma care to avoid complications. Here are some tips to help you manage your stoma during pregnancy:
- Check your stoma regularly for signs of infection, irritation or other problems. Natural changes during pregnancy, such as weight gain, bloating and changes in bowel habits, can affect the position of the stoma. Take extra care to keep the skin clean and dry, and use skin barrier products to protect against irritation and infection
- As your body changes during pregnancy, the size and shape of your stoma may also change, and you might need to adjust your appliance to ensure a proper fit and prevent leaks. Your ostomy nurse will help you select the right appliance and guide you on how to use it properly
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid putting pressure on your stoma
- Stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet. Drink plenty of water and other fluids to stay hydrated and prevent complications such as constipation and blockages. This is especially important if you suffer from morning sickness
- Stay active – exercise is important during pregnancy, you can participate in most activities as long as you take proper precautions. Talk to your stoma nurse about safe activities and how to modify them if needed
- Connect with others in the ostomy community. There are lots of pregnancy blogs and YouTube videos from ostomates detailing their pregnancy journey. Online or in-person support groups can provide a safe space to share concerns, ask questions, and receive emotional support
- Practice self-care – take time to care for yourself during pregnancy. Make sure you get plenty of rest, try relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation, exercise regularly, and seek out activities that make you happy
- Talk to your GP or stoma nurse about any concerns you have about your stoma or pregnancy
Managing your stoma during pregnancy can require some adjustments and extra care, but with proper planning and management, you can have a fulfilling and happy pregnancy.
Pregnancy with a Stoma Blogs:
What to expect from pregnancy with a stoma: https://www.stomatips.com/features/article/what-to-expect-from-pregnancy-with-a-stoma
Being an Ostomate through pregnancy and beyond: https://lightscameracrohns.com/2022/02/21/ibd-motherhood-unplugged-being-an-ostomate-through-pregnancy-and-beyond/
Hannah Witton Pregnancy Vs Stoma: https://youtu.be/qVqebE7mJH8
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The information in this blog is intended as a guide only and isn’t a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your GP or healthcare professional.