Research in the international obstetrics journal BJOG finds more than one in 10 women who had vaginal births suffered damage to the muscles that hold up internal organs. But, overall, women who had an epidural ran a lower risk of damage.
Researchers are not sure why the pain relieving procedure may help. They suggest it could prevent women from over pushing or pushing too early.
Also, physical changes in the temporarily paralyzed muscles may also mean it is less likely to be injured.