Postpartum Blues #459

February 02, 2018

When a woman gives birth, it seems like everyone wants to know how the baby is doing. What does it weigh? Is it breathing right? Did it cry? But it turns out that, in the United States, we're not doing to great at asking how the mom, who just pushed something the size of a pot roast out of something the size of a Cheerio, is doing. This week we talk to anthropologist Kate Clancy about her postpartum experience and how it is becoming distressingly common, and we speak with Julie Wiebe about prolapse, what it is and how it's treated.

Clarification/Correction: Julie Wiebe noted in the show that there were various "grades" for prolapse. There are different scales that doctors and physical therapists use, and often, the numbers on those scales represent a range of ways that the prolapse can be seen and experienced. For example, a grade 2 can be 1 cm above or below the entrance of the vagina (hymen) based on one scale, while another scale might give that a different value. So to clarify a grade 2 may be visualized as a bulge beyond the entrance to the vagina, while grades 3 and 4 are consistently visualized beyond the entrance and tend to be more symptomatic. See Figure 2 of the 2011 article by Persu et al for a visual example and clarification. If you are concerned about prolapse, please see a medical professional and keep in mind that their scales may differ.

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This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.


  • Kate Clancy
  • Julie Wiebe

Guest Bios

Kate Clancy

Kate Clancy is an anthropologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research, teaching, and service all focus on reproductive justice. She is interested in how environmental stressors (e.g., those related to energetics, immune function, and/or psychosocial stress) influence the physiology of menstruating people. She is the author of the 2023 book Period: The Real Story of Menstruation.

Julie Wiebe

Julie Wiebe has over twenty years of clinical experience in both Sports Medicine and Women's Health. Following her passion to revolutionize the way women recover from pregnancy and return to high levels of fitness, she has pioneered an integrative approach to promote women's health in and through fitness. Her Diaphragm/Pelvic Floor Piston Science concepts have been successfully incorporated by rehab practitioners and fitness professionals into a variety of populations. Julie maintains a clinical practice in Los Angeles and shares her approach for post pregnancy and pelvic health recovery and return to fitness with women worldwide through online courses.

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