Continuous recording of intrarectal pressures during the second phase of labour: correlations with postpartum pelvic floor complaints. A biomechanical–clinical study
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Introduction and hypothesis
We correlated intrarectal pressure parameter recordings during the second phase of labour in primiparous women with postpartum pelvic floor (PF) complaints to try to define a critical pressure threshold for the occurrence of permanent PF injury.
Using a microsystem device, the duration of bearing-down efforts, the area under the pressure curve and the peak pressure during bearing-down efforts were continuously recorded in 43 women with spontaneous delivery (group one) and in 17 women with forceps-assisted delivery (group two). PF complaints were assessed using ICS-validated questionnaires established before delivery and 14 ± 6 months after delivery.
Postpartum PF complaints were not significantly different between the groups. The first and second phases of labour were longer in women of group two. The three parameters measured were not correlated with the baby’s weight or mode of delivery. The duration of bearing-down efforts was correlated with difficulty voiding and lower abdominal discomfort in women of group one only. The area under the pressure curve was correlated with feeling of urgency to void, urge incontinence, drops escape, decreased frequency of orgasm and difficulties in reaching orgasm in women of group two only. Peak pressure values were not correlated with any PF dysfunction.
Intrarectal pressure parameters during second phase of labour show no significant correlations with obstetric parameters, but were significantly correlated with some urinary and sexual PF complaints 14 months after spontaneous and forceps-assisted delivery with a higher incidence of significant correlations in women of group two with forceps-assisted delivery, probably because of the longer first and second phases of labour.
KeywordsDelivery Intrarectal pressure recordings Pelvic floor dysfunction Urinary incontinence Fecal incontinence Sexual dysfunction
We acknowledge the support of Prof. Hela Bettaieb, Mathematical Department, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and her PhD fellow, Mrs. Ndeye Oumy Mbaye, for the creation of the software for analysis and calculation of the different parameters from the pressure curves
Compliance with ethical standards
Commission for Technology Innovation (CTI funding): The Innovation Promotion Agency, Effingerstrasse 27, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland; Tel. +41 31 322 21 29
Conflicts of interest
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