Objectives to establish levels of knowledge about pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy; reported practice of pelvic floor exercises in pregnancy; and prevalence of stress urinary incontinence in a sample of women in the third trimester of pregnancy. Design structured cross-sectional interview survey. Participants pregnant women over the age of 16 years and more than 30 weeks gestation attending antenatal clinics in North-East Scotland. Of 350 women who agreed to participate, 289 (82.6%) were interviewed between July 1999 and March 2000. Findings 225 women (77.9%) reported being given or obtaining information about pelvic floor exercises in the current pregnancy. Books were the most frequently mentioned source of information. Midwives were the health professionals most likely to give information about pelvic floor exercises. Younger women, first-time mothers and those from more deprived backgrounds were less likely to report having information about the exercises. A third of women (n=90, 31.1%) said that they would have liked more information about the exercises. Practice of the exercises during pregnancy was reported by just over half the sample (n=156, 54.0%) and more than once a day by 26.3% (n=76). Younger women, and those from more deprived backgrounds, were less likely to report the practice of exercises. No difference was found in reported practice according to parity. More than half (n=157, 54.3%) of the women reported incontinence during the current pregnancy. No relationship was found between reported practice of pelvic floor exercises and stress urinary incontinence. Key conclusions and implications for practice the number of women who indicated a desire for more information and the low number who reported practice of the exercises suggest that improvements could be made. The gaps in information provision and practice suggest areas for future health promotion about the exercises, particularly by midwives, as not all women are seen by a physiotherapist during pregnancy. Reported levels of incontinence during pregnancy confirm previous findings and highlight the prevalence of incontinence in pregnancy.
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Stress urinary incontinence