A 12-week exercise program, including pelvic floor muscle training (other wise known as Pelvic Floor Exercises ), during pregnancy can help prevent and treat urinary incontinence in late pregnancy, according to research published online July 17 in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Signe N. Stafne, P.T., of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 855 pregnant women who were randomly allocated to either an intervention comprising a 12-week once-weekly physical therapist-led group exercise session, including PFMT, conducted between weeks 20 and 36 of gestation, or regular antenatal care.
The researchers found that 11 percent of women in the intervention group reported any weekly urinary incontinence, compared to 19 percent of controls (P = 0.004). Three percent of women in the intervention group reported fecal incontinence compared with 5 percent of controls, but the difference did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.18).
“The results from the present trial indicate that pregnant women should do pelvic floor muscle training to prevent and treat urinary incontinence in late pregnancy. Thorough instruction in correct pelvic floor muscle contraction and pelvic floor muscle training is important, and specific pelvic floor muscle exercises should be included in exercise classes for pregnant women,” the authors write. “Any possible long-term effects on urinary incontinence and the preventive effect of pelvic floor muscle training on anal incontinence should be explored further.”