A report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) says spina bifida and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) are the most commonly reported causes of spinal cord injuries in the United Kingdom.
In 2015, the RCOG estimated that one in five women in the country had an IUGR.
In Scotland, the figure was one in 10 women.
The report says spinal injuries are the leading cause of death among young people in the world, but women are also more likely to die in the womb than in childbirth.
It said that women were disproportionately affected by the consequences of spinal injury, and that women’s healthcare needs should be considered as a priority.
The RCOG said: “We recognise the need to provide more information to patients and providers and encourage better coordination between organisations.
We also recognise the importance of women’s wellbeing in the delivery of care and we must ensure that all women are fully informed of their options and their risks.”
It said a lack of awareness of the risk of IUGRs, combined with a lack to provide effective and timely information, meant the numbers of women being admitted to hospital for IUGr and spinal cord trauma were increasing.
“It is important that all health and health services are provided with as much information as possible about this condition, so that women can make informed decisions about their healthcare needs,” the report says.
In the report, the ROG recommends that: “The Scottish Government take action to support the delivery and care of spinal and epidural injuries in women, to encourage women to have a good outcome in their care, and to ensure that women are given adequate information on their options, and their risk of having an IUD inserted.”
The report said that the Scottish Government was currently working with the Scottish Health Service and the Scottish Institute for Health Research to identify additional resources to support women’s access to spinal and other services, as well as the implementation of a national spine health strategy.
“Women are the biggest contributors to the UK’s spine health and spine injury population and this is an urgent priority for the Scottish government,” said Ruth Kelly, executive director of the RCog.
“Women should be provided with all the information and support they need to make informed and safe decisions, with the best possible outcomes for their health and wellbeing.”
The RCog report recommends that women who have an IUB or spina-bifida should have their IUGS removed, and they should also be provided the option of having a spinal surgery.
It also recommends that an independent medical officer, if necessary, be appointed to advise the health service on whether women need an IugR or surgery.