Ligaments can be stretched and damaged during Pregnancy and Labour.
As we saw from the suspension bridge diagram above, the muscles pull against the ligaments which support the bridge. If your ligaments are loosened during childbirth, for instance, you may develop a prolapse (a feeling of something coming down), a “dragging” pain low in your abdomen, symptoms in your bladder, for example urgency, frequency, getting up at night, or even problems with bowel emptying or incontinence.
Commencing 6 months before childbirth, the “glue” between the collagen rods begins to soften in response to hormones from the placenta (“afterbirth”). This explains the onset of bladder, bowel, and pain symptoms at this time. Some 24-48 hours before delivery, however, this softening accelerates, and the collagen rods lose 95% of their strength.
During delivery, the baby’s head greatly stretches these collagen rods. Of course, the rods “re-glue” soon after delivery, but often they “re-glue” in a loose and extended position. Neither the ligaments nor the muscles can now work properly, and this may lead to a “fallen womb” (prolapse of the uterus), a bulge of the bladder (cystocoele) or rectum (rectocoele), and a wide range of bladder, bowel and pelvic pain symptoms. Women who have had Caesarian sections may also become incontinent, but less frequently. Loose ligaments may occur in women who have never had children. Such women are born with loose ligaments, or they may have a congenital defect in their collagen.
All these conditions are potentially curable by creation of artificial ligaments, as will be explained later.