Pregnancy and Contraception Advice for Ostomates
There is no reason why you should not enjoy a healthy, normal pregnancy when you have a stoma.
Having a stoma will not affect your changes of becoming pregnant and you should not have any extra difficulties during pregnancy. However, there are a few things to watch our for.
If your stoma is located low down on your stomach, you may have difficulty changing your pouch, as your bump gets bigger. A good mirror will help you out. As your abdomen changes shape, you will need to measure your stoma more regularly and change your pouch size if necessary, as the pregnancy progresses. Ileostomates in particular, may find problems with their stoma blocking as there is naturally greater pressure upon the intestine during pregnancy.
When packing your hospital bag, don't forget to include your stoma supplies as well. It is important to change your pouch as soon after the birth as possible, as the stoma will swell due to the pressure and exertion of the labour process. A normal delivery is usually preferrable to a caesarian section due to the scar tissue and adhesions that may have occured from previous abdominal surgery. It is ideal, if you have your baby in the same hospital where you had your stoma surgery, as your Stoma Care Nurse may even be able to come and check on you after you have given birth.
If you have a stoma and are sexually active you may wish to avoid pregnancy by using contraception. It is worth noting that the contraceptive pill works by being absorbed by the body, however, if you have a stoma, this may affect absorption so it is best to ask your doctor's advice before deciding on the most appropriate method for you.