, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 193-202
Date: 16 Oct 2009

Urinary incontinence in nulliparous women before and during pregnancy: prevalence, incidence, and associated risk factors

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Few studies have examined associations of prepregnancy urinary incontinence (UI).


Multicentre prospective pregnancy cohort study (n = 1,507) using standardised measures to assess frequency and severity of UI.


Prevalence of UI increased from 10.8% in the 12 months before the index pregnancy to 55.9% in the third trimester. Stress incontinence (36.9%) and mixed incontinence (13.1%) were more common during pregnancy than urge incontinence alone (5.9%). UI before pregnancy was associated with childhood enuresis (adjusted odds ratio (AdjOR) = 2.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.6–3.4), higher maternal body mass index (AdjOR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.4–3.8), and previous miscarriages or terminations (AdjOR = 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.3). The strongest predictor of incident UI in pregnancy was occasional leakage (less than once a month) before pregnancy (AdjOR = 3.6, 95% CI 2.8–4.7).


Further research is needed to elucidate the complex interplay of prepregnancy and pregnancy-related factors in the aetiology of UI in nulliparous women.