Does regular exercise including pelvic floor muscle training prevent urinary and anal incontinence during pregnancy? A randomised controlled trial
Article first published online: 17 JUL 2012
© 2012 The Authors BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology © 2012 RCOG
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Volume 119, Issue 10, pages 1270–1280, September 2012
How to Cite
Stafne, S., Salvesen, K., Romundstad, P., Torjusen, I. and Mørkved, S. (2012), Does regular exercise including pelvic floor muscle training prevent urinary and anal incontinence during pregnancy? A randomised controlled trial. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 119: 1270–1280. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03426.x
- Issue published online: 13 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 17 JUL 2012
- Accepted 24 April 2012. Published Online 17 July 2012.
- pelvic floor muscle training;
Please cite this paper as: Stafne S, Salvesen K, Romundstad P, Torjusen I, Mørkved S. Does regular exercise including pelvic floor muscle training prevent urinary and anal incontinence during pregnancy? A randomised controlled trial. BJOG 2012;119:1270–1280.
Objective To assess whether pregnant women following a general exercise course, including pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT), were less likely to report urinary and anal incontinence in late pregnancy than a group of women receiving standard care.
Design A two-armed, two-centred randomised controlled trial.
Setting Trondheim University Hospital (St. Olavs Hospital) and Stavanger University Hospital, in Norway.
Population A total of 855 women were included in this trial.
Methods The intervention was a 12-week exercise programme, including PFMT, conducted between 20 and 36 weeks of gestation. One weekly group session was led by physiotherapists, and home exercises were encouraged at least twice a week. Controls received regular antenatal care.
Main outcome measures Self-reported urinary and anal incontinence after the intervention period (at 32–36 weeks of gestation).
Results Fewer women in the intervention group reported any weekly urinary incontinence (11 versus 19%, P = 0.004). Fewer women in the intervention group reported faecal incontinence (3 versus 5%), but this difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.18).
Conclusions The present trial indicates that pregnant women should exercise, and in particular do PFMT, to prevent and treat urinary incontinence in late pregnancy. Thorough instruction is important, and specific pelvic floor muscle exercises should be included in exercise classes for pregnant women. The preventive effect of PFMT on anal incontinence should be explored in future trials.