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A randomized controlled trial of antenatal pelvic floor exercises to prevent and treat urinary incontinence


Introduction and hypothesis

The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of antenatal pelvic floor muscle exercise (PFME) in the prevention and treatment of urinary incontinence during pregnancy and postpartum period.


Three hundred women were randomly assigned to the PFME group and control group. Urinary symptoms were measured by Urogenital Distress Inventory-6 (UDI-6), Incontinence Impact Questionnaire-7 (IIQ-7), and question of self-reported urinary incontinence. Questionnaire scores of the PFME and the control groups were compared and analyzed.


During late pregnancy and the postpartum period, the PFME group had significantly lower total UDI-6 and IIQ-7 scores; their self-report rate of urinary incontinence was also less than the control group. Additionally, we found whether in PFME or control, women who delivered vaginally were more likely to develop postpartum urinary leakage than women who delivered by cesarean section.


PFME applied in pregnancy is effective in the treatment and prevention of urinary incontinence during pregnancy, and this effect may persist to postpartum period.

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Fig. 1



Stress urinary incontinence


Pelvic floor muscle exercise


Incontinence Impact Questionnaire


Urogenital Distress Inventory


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This work was supported by the Medical Research Project, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CMRPG370321 and BMRP412). The authors would like to thank Drs. Yao-Lung Chang, Chao-Nin Wang, and Ho-Yen Chueh, and physiotherapists of our urogynecological division for their assistance to accomplish this study.

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Correspondence to Ching-Chung Liang.

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Ko, PC., Liang, CC., Chang, SD. et al. A randomized controlled trial of antenatal pelvic floor exercises to prevent and treat urinary incontinence. Int Urogynecol J 22, 17–22 (2011).

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  • Pelvic floor muscle exercise
  • Pregnancy
  • Postpartum
  • Urinary incontinence