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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 75

of 'Urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse associated with pregnancy and childbirth'

The prevalence of stress incontinence during pregnancy and following delivery.
Mason L, Glenn S, Walton I, Appleton C
Midwifery. 1999;15(2):120.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the variation in findings from epidemiological studies which describe the prevalence of stress incontinence during and after pregnancy, and to undertake a prospective survey of the prevalence of stress incontinence during pregnancy and following childbirth in order to provide clarification of the findings presented in the literature.
DESIGN: A review of the literature was undertaken using the Medline and Popline CD Rom. A postal questionnaire was sent to a sample of women when they reached 34 weeks' gestation and repeated at 8 weeks postpartum.
PARTICIPANTS: 1008 women were recruited to the study when they attended the antenatal clinic at two hospitals in the north west of England. Seven hundred and seventeen (71%) women responded to the first questionnaire and 572 (57%) completed the second questionnaire.
FINDINGS: The prevalence of stress incontinence during pregnancy reported in the literature ranges from 20 to 67%. Following delivery the reported prevalence is between 6 and 29%. In the present study 59% of women reported stress incontinence during pregnancy, and 31% following delivery. Ten per cent of the women had daily episodes of incontinence during their pregnancy, 2% of all women reported daily incontinence following delivery. An association was found between parity and stress incontinence, with women of higher parity being more likely to experience the condition. No difference in the prevalence of stress incontinence was found between women who had a normal delivery and those having an instrumental delivery. A caesarean section was found to be associated with a lower incidence of stress incontinence compared with a normal spontaneous delivery.
KEY CONCLUSION: A high proportion of women experienced stress incontinence during pregnancy and/or following delivery. Some women reported severe symptoms, with leakage on a daily basis. Women of higher parity were more likely to suffer from the condition. Whilst women who had a normal spontaneous delivery or an instrumental delivery reported a similar level of stress incontinence, women who had a caesarean section were less likely to have the condition.
Liverpool John Moores University, School of Health, UK.