Original Article

International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 19, Issue 11, pp 1495-1501

Effects of pregnancy on pelvic floor dysfunction and body image; a prospective study

  • Rachel N. PaulsAffiliated withWomen’s Center for Specialized Care, Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery, Good Samaritan Hospital Email author 
  • , John A. OcchinoAffiliated withMayo Clinic
  • , Vicki DryfhoutAffiliated withHatton Institute for Research and Education, Good Samaritan Hospital
  • , Mickey M. KarramAffiliated withDivision of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery, Good Samaritan Hospital

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Impact of pregnancy on pelvic symptom-related quality of life and body image has not been previously documented. We hypothesize that pregnancy will have a negative impact on pelvic symptoms and body image. Pregnant subjects completed questionnaires in the first (S1) and third trimester (S2) and 6 months postpartum (S3) including: Body Exposure During Sexual Activities Questionnaire, Urogenital Distress Inventory, Incontinence Impact Questionnaire, and Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life Scale. Urinary symptoms worsened through pregnancy with improvement postpartum. However, quality of life impact of fecal incontinence was stable. Although some associations between low body image and maternal weight, urinary distress, and bowel complaints were suggested, no significant relationships were noted. Poorest body image was noted in the postpartum period. Urinary symptoms worsen during pregnancy with recovery postpartum, while body image suffers most following pregnancy.


Pregnancy Pelvic symptoms Body image Urinary incontinence Fecal incontinence Quality of life