$6M federal grant to fund research
on muscle damage during childbirth
A group of researchers from the U-M Health System has been awarded a $6 million federal grant to study serious childbirth-related injuries that afflict millions of women.
A team that includes a unique multidisciplinary team of U-M gynecologists, engineers, nurses and other researchers will use the grant from the Office of Research on Women's Health part of the National Institutes of Health to examine the damage that can be done to pelvic muscles during vaginal deliveries. The Specialized Centers of Research (SCOR) grant is funded for five years.
More than 300,000 women require surgery each year for problems such as incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse that arise from injuries sustained during vaginal birth.
"Twice as many women suffer a major injury to the muscles near the birth canal per hour of labor as women suffer injuries in major college athletics. Despite this high number of injuries, preventive strategies to reduce the injury rate have not been previously developed," says Dr. John DeLancey, director of Pelvic Floor Research, Norman F. Miller Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and principal investigator on the SCOR grant.
U-M is at the forefront nationally in the research and treatment of pelvic floor disorders with its Pelvic Floor Research and Pelvic Floor Disorders Clinic. With the SCOR grant, the researchers will advance the knowledge about these conditions by studying the changes that muscles undergo in preparation for birth, how they are injured, and how they either recover or do not.
In addition to DeLancey, the primary members of the interdisciplinary SCOR grant team include: James Ashton-Miller, director of the Biomechanics Research Laboratories, research professor and distinguished research scientist, Mechanical Engineering Department, College of Engineering and senior research scientist, Institute of Gerontology; Dr. Dee Fenner, Harold A Furlong Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of gynecology; Janis Miller, assistant research scientist in School of Nursing and research assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology; Morton Brown, professor of biostatistics in the School of Public Health; Carolyn Sampselle, Carolyne K. Davis Collegiate Professor of Nursing and associate dean for research at the School of Nursing, professor of women's studies, and professor of obstetrics and gynecology; Lisa Kane Low, assistant professor of nursing and of women's studies; and Dr. Catherine Brandon, assistant professor of radiology.