Excessive bleeding after birth?
Women who had radiation to the abdomen in childhood to treat cancer may experience excessive bleeding after giving birth.
(Getty Images)
A study evaluated pregnancy and birth outcomes in 40 women who were 30 years old on average and had been treated when about 7 years old for cancers of the blood, kidney, bone, and other locations.

Twenty-eight of the women were pregnant with their first child, eight with their second, and the rest were on their third, fourth or fifth pregnancies.

In general, these women had outcomes similar to more than 9000 women who never had cancer, Dr. Sharon Lie Fong, at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and her colleagues found.

However, the six women previously treated with abdominal radiation appear to be the exception.

Although just two of the six bled severely after childbirth, percentage-wise this represents a higher rate (33%) of severe bleeding cases relative to that seen in the general population where just 5% bled after childbirth.

The researchers urge health care providers to be aware of this risk when treating women cancer survivors during pregnancy, particularly since this finding "has not been reported so far in childhood cancer survivors," Lie Fong's team notes in the journal Human Reproduction.

Notably, the women's very young age at cancer treatment - about 7 years old on average - did not seem to prevent harmful effects of radiation to their small, pre-puberty uteruses.

The six women who received radiation to the abdomen in childhood also delivered their babies an average of 4 weeks earlier than their cancer-free peers. However, babies born to the cancer survivors, including those previously treated with abdominal radiation, appeared as healthy as those born to cancer-free moms.

Due to the increased risks noted in this study, Lie Fong's team discourages home birth and encourages heightened prenatal care for women who received abdominal radiation for childhood cancer.

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job

Fieldwork Administrator - Wellington WC

Cape Winelands
Agri Technovation
R13 000.00 - R15 000.00 Per Month

Branch Manager

Atlantic Meat
R17 000.00 - R20 000.00 Per Month

Software Developer

Port Elizabeth
S4 Integration (Pty) Ltd

Property - Find a new home