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Learning about pelvic floor muscle exercises before and during pregnancy: a cross-sectional study

Journal article
Authors D. Daly
C. Cusack
Cecily Begley
Published in International Urogynecology Journal
Volume 30
Issue 6
Pages 965-975
ISSN 0937-3462
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Pages 965-975
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00192-018-3848-...
Keywords Exercise, Kegel exercises, Pelvic floor, Prenatal education, Survey, Urinary incontinence, urinary-incontinence, health-professionals, nulliparous women, adherence, childbirth, prevalence, education
Subject categories Reproductive and perinatal care

Abstract

Introduction and hypothesisAll pregnant women should be given advice on the benefits of pelvic floor muscle exercises (PFMEs) in preventing urinary incontinence (UI) and know how to exercise correctly. This study explored women's knowledge and practice of PFMEs, their sources of knowledge and prevalence of UI before and during pregnancy.MethodsWe conducted a cross-sectional study with 567 women, 239 primiparous and 328 multiparous, recruited from one maternity hospital in Ireland. Logistic regression was used to examine associations.ResultsPre-pregnancy, 41% of women (n=232) learnt to do PFMEs, 30% (n=172) did exercises and 28% (n=159) experienced UI. Women more likely to report UI were aged 35years (p=0.03), had a BMI 30kg/m(2) (p=0.01) or did PFMEs but were unsure they were exercising correctly (p=0.03). During pregnancy, 50% of women (n=281) received PFME information during antenatal visits and 38.6% (n=219) attended antenatal classes. Women less likely to do PFMEs daily or weekly had no formal educational qualification (p=0.01), did not do PFMEs pre-pregnancy (p<0.0001) or did not attend the physiotherapist-led PFME education session (p<0.0001). In multivariable analysis, the two factors significantly associated with UI during pregnancy were being aged 30-34years (p=0.05) and reporting UI pre-pregnancy (p<0.0001).ConclusionsThis benchmarking exercise revealed considerable gaps in the totality of PFME education and services offered in the site hospital. We recommend that others do likewise to enable learning from those who have addressed service deficits.

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