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Pelvic Floor Muscle Training During Pregnancy to Prevent Urinary Incontinence : A Single‐Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

Abstract :

OBJECTIVE: Urinary incontinence is a chronic health complaint that severely reduces quality of life. Pregnancy and vaginal delivery are main risk factors in the development of urinary incontinence. The aim of this study was to assess whether intensive pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy could prevent urinary incontinence.

METHODS: We conducted a single-blind randomized controlled trial at Trondheim University Hospital and three outpatient physiotherapy clinics in a primary care setting. Three hundred one healthy nulliparous women were randomly allocated to a training (n = ۱۴۸) or a control group (n = ۱۵۳). The training group attended a 12-week intensive pelvic floor muscle training program during pregnancy, supervised by physiotherapists. The control group received the customary information. The primary outcome measure was self-reported symptoms of urinary incontinence. The secondary outcome measure was pelvic floor muscle strength.

RESULTS: At follow-up, significantly fewer women in the training group reported urinary incontinence: 48 of 148 (32%) versus 74 of 153 (48%) at 36 weeks’ pregnancy (P = .۰۰۷) and 29 of 148 (20%) versus 49 of 153 (32%) 3 months after delivery (P = .۰۱۸). According to numbers needed to treat, intensive pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy prevented urinary incontinence in about one in six women during pregnancy and one in eight women after delivery. Pelvic floor muscle strength was significantly higher in the training group at 36 weeks’ pregnancy (P = .۰۰۸) and 3 months after delivery (P = .۰۴۸).

CONCLUSION: Intensive pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy prevents urinary incontinence during pregnancy and after delivery. Pelvic floor muscle strength improved significantly after intensive pelvic floor muscle training.

In Brief : 

Intensive pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy prevents urinary incontinence during pregnancy and after delivery.

Author Information : 

Department of Community Medicine and General Practice, and National Center for Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim; and The Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education, Oslo, Norway.

Address reprint requests to: Siv Mørkved, MSc, PT, Department of Community Medicine and General Practice, Medisinsk teknisk forskningssenter, N-7489 Trondheim, Norway; E-mail: siv.morkved@medisin.ntnu.no.

The work was funded by The Norwegian Fund for Postgraduate Training in Physiotherapy and the Norwegian Women’s Public Health Association.

The authors thank the physiotherapists Hildegunn Børsting, Trude Hoff Leirvik, Bente Olsen, Monica U. Tøndel, and Bjørg Vada for their efforts in performing this study, by leading the training groups. Professor of Biostatistics Ingar Holme, Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education, and Associate Professor Stian Lydersen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, gave valuable advice on the statistical analysis. The English revision of the manuscript was done by Nancy Lea Eik-Nes.

Received June 3, 2002. Received in revised form August 6, 2002. Accepted August 22, 2002.

http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2003/02000/Pelvic_Floor_Muscle_Training_During_Pregnancy_to.18.aspx