Modern medicine is a wonderful thing, childbirth is a miracle, and the human body is a medical marvel – combine those facts with the information superhighway and you get fascinating answers to questions such as, “Can a doctor tell if you’ve had a baby?”.
Apart from by the rugrats hanging on to your legs, of course.
This was a question posted on the knowledge-sharing platform Quora, and specialist doctors and professionals were happy to explain in detail that the answer is yes.
Apparently, your body has tell-tale signs of previous pregnancies that doctors, who know what they’re looking for, can detect immediately – not just by blood tests.
Dr. Liang-Hai Sie, a retired general internist and former intensive care physician, posted this photo of what the mouth of the cervix looks like when a woman has never given birth (A) and when she has given birth (B):
Dr. Liang-Hai Sie explained that, "Only very early abortions won’t dilate the 3mm cervical canal".
The post was "Upvoted" by David Chan, a doctor from UCLA, Stanford Oncology Fellowship, and Steven Ford, retired GP and primary care medical practitioner in the United Kingdom.
The doctor also explained that a previous pregnancy and childbirth couldn't be detected in the same way.
"When non-vaginal birth had taken place... although the scar would tell you of a previous C section," he said.
Most of the doctors that responded, such as Dr Ankita Jain, Gynecological & Endoscopic Surgeon at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, agreed that an early-stage pregnancy, which had been aborted, wouldn't be as easily detected.
And in case you were wondering, the placement of an IUD isn't enough to mimic childbirth:
"An IUD insertion doesn’t cause worthwhile dilatation of the cervix, IUD inserters being 3.65 mm (copper IUDs) to 4.75 mm (the larger IUDs containing a progestagen hormone reservoir) in diameter only, thus doesn’t cause any worthwhile dilation in the cervical canal that normally is around 3mm in diameter," Dr. Liang-Hai Sie said.
Peta Steyn, Principal Technical Officer at Stellenbosch University (2016-present), added that there are other signs, too:
"On a skeletal level as the hips flair to allow birth, the tendons cut into the hip bone and because the tendons stretch more with each birth, they don’t return to their exact original location. As such the cut marks in bone are usually spaced next to one another for each full birth. (Known as parturition pits).
"This is only valid for natural birth and would most likely not occur during early stage abortion as [sic] their is no major hip dilation. In late stage abortion it may be present. These are most likely also not present with C-sections that are arranged prior to going into labour."
So it turns out that Shakira was right the, erm, "hips don't lie".