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International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 11, pp 1575–1586 | Cite as

The efficacy of physiotherapy for the prevention and treatment of prenatal symptoms: a systematic review

  • Marijke Van Kampen
  • Nele Devoogdt
  • An De Groef
  • Annelies Gielen
  • Inge GeraertsEmail author
Review Article

Abstract

Several studies have described the evidence of prenatal physiotherapy for one symptom, but none has made an overview. We provided a systematic review on the effectiveness of prenatal physiotherapy. A full search was conducted in three electronic databases (Embase, PubMed/MEDLINE and PEDro), selecting randomized controlled trials concerning prenatal physiotherapy. Methodological quality was assessed using the PEDro scale. We identified 1,249 studies and after exclusions 54 studies were included concerning the evidence of prenatal physiotherapy. The majority of studies indicated a preventative effect for low back pain/pelvic girdle pain, weight gain, incontinence, and perineal massage. For leg edema, fear, and prenatal depression, the efficacy was only based on one study per symptom. No preventative effect was found for gestational diabetes, while literature concerning gestational hypertensive disorders was inconclusive. Regarding the treatment of low back pain/pelvic girdle pain and weight gain, most therapies reduced pain and weight respectively. Evidence regarding exercises for diabetes was contradictory and only minimally researched for incontinence. Foot massage and stockings reduced leg edema and leg symptoms respectively. Concerning gestational hypertensive disorders, perineal pain, fear, and prenatal depression no treatment studies were performed. The majority of studies indicated that prenatal physiotherapy played a preventative role for low back pain/pelvic girdle pain, weight gain, incontinence, and pelvic pain. Evidence for the remaining symptoms was inclusive or only minimally investigated. Regarding treatment, most studies indicated a reduction of low back pain/pelvic girdle pain, weight gain, incontinence, and the symptoms of leg edema.

Keywords

Antenatal Childbirth Pregnancy Prenatal physiotherapy Symptoms 

Abbreviations

ADL

Activities of daily life

BMI

Body mass index

C

Control group

E

Experimental group

EGWG

Excessive gestational weight gain

FI

Fecal incontinence

GA

Gestational age

GDM

Gestational diabetes mellitus

GHD

Gestational hypertensive disorders

GWG

Gestational weight gain

HR

Heart rate

IOM

Institute of Medicine

LBP

Low back pain

PFM

Pelvic floor muscles

PFMT

Pelvic floor muscle training

PGP

Pelvic girdle pain

RCT

Randomized controlled trial

SBP

Systolic blood pressure

TENS

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

UI

Urinary incontinence

VAS

Visual analogue scale

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge Miss Defrenne and Miss Van Beeck for their help with the initial literature search.

Funding

No funding was received.

Conflicts of interest

None.

Authors’ contribution to the manuscript

M. Van Kampen: protocol, project development, literature search, data management, manuscript writing; N. Devoogdt: manuscript editing, data management; A. De Groef: literature search, data management, manuscript editing; A. Gielen: literature search, manuscript writing; I. Geraerts: project development, literature search, data management, manuscript writing.

Supplementary material

192_2015_2684_MOESM1_ESM.docx (51 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 51 kb)

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Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marijke Van Kampen
    • 1
  • Nele Devoogdt
    • 1
  • An De Groef
    • 1
  • Annelies Gielen
    • 1
  • Inge Geraerts
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation SciencesKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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