Will bladder pain make my labour more difficult?
August 6, 2010 1:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm 33 weeks pregnant and my interstitial cystitis (painful bladder) flared up about 3 weeks ago. I don't expect it to subside until the pregnancy's over. I can feel the pain intensify during my Braxton Hicks contractions. Does this mean that my bladder will likely hurt a lot more when I'm in labour? Can any ladies who have gone through labour and have an IC diagnosis comment on this?

Yes, you are not my doctor. I see her every two weeks, and while she knows about the IC, I haven't had a chance to ask her this question yet. While I know she means well, she's tended to downplay my pregnancy-related aches and pains to save me from worry. She'll probably say something like "we'll deal with this when we get there."

But I'd like to know in advance, if at all possible, whether I'm likely to have to deal with bladder pain on top of the pain of the contractions. This will change how I think about pain management.

If it matters, I don't receive treatment for the IC; usually avoiding coffee, alcohol, and drinking lots of water keeps it in check.

Oh, and I've been tested twice in the last 3 weeks; I do not have a bladder infection.

Thanks for your help.
posted by kitcat to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
Here's a labor diary from a woman with IC. Sounds like it wasn't a big deal. Are you SURE your current pain is IC? I'd be worried about any severe pain this far along in your pregnancy (apart from the usual aches) and would make it a point to see a doctor ASAP. Especially if this is your first pregnancy. Early labor is nothing to play down.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:29 PM on August 6, 2010

Oh, this is so my jam. I have had IC for most of my life and gave birth four months ago.

My IC was bothering me towards the end of the pregnancy, and I also got a UTI on top of that and was in pain for some time after it cleared up. Of course everyone's experience is different, but my IC did *not* impact my labor or flare up during contractions. Real contractions are so much more intense than BH; even if you're flaring when you go into labor, the contractions may sort of 'blot out' any other pain you're feeling. The best course of action is to do what you're doing: avoid any known triggers, and keep pounding the water. It's possible that the pressure of the baby's head on and near your bladder will continue to flare you up, but it's equally possible that as the baby drops down and shifts you'll actually get some relief. There's no way of knowing, so please try not to stress too much about it.

A side note, not to freak you out but just an FYI: during labor my urethra prolapsed. My midwives and urogyn had never seen anything quite like it. I was later told that it was unrelated to the IC, but as I'm sure you've experienced, even the specialists don't necessarily know much about IC. I am NOT suggesting this will happen, but it is sort of interesting.

Message me if you want to talk some more!
posted by tetralix at 1:33 PM on August 6, 2010

Oh, p.s. I prepared a birth plan and made sure my midwives had it in advance. It had lots of info about my IC. When I arrived at the hospital, the midwife and nurse attending my delivery had already read it and were sensitive to my fears of flaring up. If you need a urojet at any time before, during, or after labor, don't be afraid to ask for one--it's totally preg-safe.
posted by tetralix at 1:39 PM on August 6, 2010

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