Perspectives on modes of labour and delivery after different modalities of surgery for bowel endometriosis

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2022 Jul;42(5):1443-1447. doi: 10.1080/01443615.2021.1997957. Epub 2021 Dec 29.


Bowel or intestinal endometriosis is estimated to affect 5-37% of women with deep infiltrative endometriosis (DIE), especially in the rectum and recto-sigmoid junction. However, there are no current guidelines or consensus regarding safest mode of delivery in pregnant women after different surgical interventions for bowel/intestinal endometriosis. From October 2019 to February 2020, we conducted an online survey of members of the British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy (BSGE). These included questions on what gynaecologist members would recommend as modes of delivery in women who had different surgical modalities for bowel endometriosis, and the particular factors that influence such recommendations. Analysis of data was performed using SPSS for Windows (V9) software package. One hundred and two members of BSGE completed the survey (61.76% of BSGE gynaecologist members). Only 30.39% of respondents counsel women, pre-operatively, about possible effects of surgical treatment of bowel endometriosis on their subsequent mode of delivery. Our survey highlights wide variation in practice that currently exists. Around 70% of clinicians are not counselling patients regarding delivery options pre-surgery despite almost one-third recommending planned caesarean section if the vagina is opened. Further studies are required to stratify the risk factors for such patients when attempting vaginal delivery or caesarean section.IMPACT STATEMENTWhat is already known on this subject? Treatment of colorectal endometriosis consists of rectal shaving, discoid resection or segmental colorectal resection. However, the relationship between different surgical modalities for bowel endometriosis and the subsequent safe mode of labour and delivery remains unclear.What do the results of this study add? No study has been published that specifically looked at the particular course and outcome of labour and delivery after each of these bowel surgeries; rectal shaving, disc excision, or segmental colorectal resection. Our study highlights the wide variations in practice that currently exists. Despite around 70% of clinicians not counselling women regarding delivery options pre-surgery, almost one-third would recommend a planned caesarean section if the vagina is opened.What are the implications of these findings for clinical practice and/or further research? This study suggests that risk factors should be stratified for such patients when attempting a vaginal delivery or undergoing a caesarean section. Guidance from the ESGE and/or BSGE would be useful to aid in the counselling and informed consent of such patients.

Keywords: Bowel endometriosis; bowel discoid excision; caesarean section; rectal shaving; segmental colorectal resection; vaginal delivery.

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / complications
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Endometriosis* / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy* / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Rectal Diseases* / complications
  • Rectal Diseases* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome