Do pregnant women exercise their pelvic floor muscles?
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The aims of the present study were to assess the number of women performing pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) during pregnancy and to compare the background variables in those exercising and in those who did not. Four hundred and sixty-seven pregnant women (response rate 84%), mean age 31.5 years (range 20–49), answered a questionnaire on general physical activity level during pregnancy including PFMT. The questionnaire was sent out in week 32 of gestation and answered within week 36. Twenty-four percent reported problems with urinary incontinence and 9% flatus/fecal incontinence. The percentages of pregnant women performing PFMT at least once a week before pregnancy and during trimesters 1, 2, and 3 were 7, 12.9, 17.6, and 17.4%, respectively. More women with lower prepregnancy BMI and with present and past pelvic girdle pain were performing regular PFMT. No significant differences were found in any other background variables. It is concluded that relatively few women perform regular PFMT during pregnancy. In conclusion, only 17% of pregnant Norwegian women reported performing PFMT during pregnancy.
KeywordsExercise Fecal incontinence Participation Pelvic floor muscle Urinary incontinence
We thank lecturer Helena Frawley, physiotherapist/Ph.D. student, School of Physiotherapy, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, for the valuable help in the English revision of the manuscript. We appreciate the support of professors Tore Henriksen and Jens Bollerslev who are project leaders of the STORK project.
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