University Of Toronto logoPreviously we had reported that a traumatic brain injury seemingly causes major depression. Experts from the U of T/Toronto Rehab claimed that a brain injury adversely affects a woman’s fertility, pregnancy and postpartum health. Apparently displaying the most comprehensive investigation of women’s health issues till date, the analysis highlight injuries that may be faced by women after a traumatic brain injury.

The scientists investigated health outcomes of 104 premenopausal women after the completion of five to 12 years of a severe brain injury. It then appeared to the study authors that women with a past of traumatic brain injury (TBI) tend to significantly face menstrual disturbances, including irregular cycles and amenorrhea which means not having a period at all.

“Traumatic brain injury is a major public health problem, yet little is known about its long-term effect on women’s reproductive health. Our findings provide important information for women who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, and for health professionals working with these women,” affirmed Professor Angela Colantonio of occupational science, a senior scientist at Toronto Rehab and principal author of the study.

Women with TBI did not report to have difficulties in getting pregnant as compared to women without any brain injury. Yet they did have fewer children. After comparisons it was also revealed that postpartum difficulties were faced by most women with TBI. Mental health, physical function, perceived support, and income together termed as perceived health were seemingly acquired in lower levels by women with TBI.

The authors mentioned that several reasons can be the cause of women with TBI having fewer children and experiencing more problems after childbirth. Symptoms of depression and fatigue, physical and cognitive demands of rearing a child; and financial reasons may also be the cause of not having more children.

April Ferguson sustained a TBI when she was hit by a car while riding her bike in 1995. After spending 28 days in a coma, she remained for the next five years and two months at Toronto Rehab. There she was recovering from paralysis, speech impairment and a variety of cognitive problems. At present she has children aged 5 and 7 years.

Ferguson remarked, “Everyone knows how demanding parenting can be for anyone, especially in the early days. In my case, as a brain-injury survivor, multi-tasking was difficult – for example, handling a crying child or preparing food for one child, while sitting down to nurse another.”

The analysis is beneficial as it probably provides diagnosis for women after TBI. It also tends to display an evidence for long-term monitoring of health outcomes and increased support after childbirth.

The study is published in the June issue of the Journal of Women’s Health.