Bladder management during pregnancy in women with spinal-cord injury: an observational, multicenter study
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Introduction and hypothesis
Pregnancy in women with spinal-cord injury (SCI) poses a clinical challenge. We hypothesized that changes in the management of neurogenic bladder during pregnancy are commonly required and should receive more attention.
Data were collected by retrospective analysis of medical records and via cross-sectional survey of 52 women with SCI, representing 67 pregnancies, at ten Italian neurourological clinics. All participants provided informed consent.
Between 1976 and 2013, 39 participants had one child, 11 had two children, and two had three children. Mean age at the time of SCI was 18 years and at the time of first pregnancy was 30 years. Delivery occurred from weeks 32 to 40 in 98% of first and second pregnancies, and 94% of neonates were healthy. Oxybutynin was used by four women during five pregnancies, which resulted in delivery of healthy babies. Intermittent catheterization was used before 54% of first pregnancies and 39% of second pregnancies. Bladder management was altered during 45% of these pregnancies, and the most common changes were increased use or frequency of intermittent catheterization or use of an indwelling catheter. Urinary tract infections occurred in 48% of pregnancies, and an irregular course was reported in 13% of pregnancies mainly related to tetraplegia and urological complications.
Pregnancy in women with SCI generally has good outcomes and limited risks but frequently necessitates changes in the management of neurogenic bladder. High levels of awareness and focused monitoring of bladder issues are recommended.
KeywordsBladder management Lower urinary tract symptoms Pregnancy Spinal cord injury Urinary tract infection
lower urinary tract symptoms
urinary tract infection
M Åström (StatCons, Sweden) contributed to the statistical analyses and guidance, P Signani (Wellspect HealthCare, Italy) contributed to the study setup and database preparation, and M Åberg Håkansson (Wellspect HealthCare, Sweden) contributed to the manuscript preparation.
The study was partially sponsored by Wellspect HealthCare, DENTSPLY IH AB, Sweden, but there was no specific compensation related to its publication.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
Parts of this work were presented at the ISCoS and ASIA Joint Scientific Meeting held 14–16 May in Montreal, Canada.
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