A Cochrane Review by Hays-Smith et al in 2008 addressed the subject of Pelvic Floor muscle strengthening for both the prevention and treatment of urine and fecal incontinence (leakage) in both pre and post vaginal delivery.
The study identified that 1 in 3 women have urinary incontinence (leakage), and 1 in 10 have fecal incontinence after childbirth. Pelvic floor muscle training is a common recommendation during pregnancy and afterwards as a means of preventing and treating incontinence.
In this study intensive pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) was described to include one to one instruction, assessment of proper contractions, continued supervision of pelvic floor training, and a provided exercise program to strengthen the weakened pelvic floor muscles. This study found that with the above mentioned intensive PFMT women who did not have leakage prior to childbirth were 56% less likely to report leakage during the later stages of pregnancy. Furthermore, after 6 months post-partum, those who underwent intensive PFMT were 30% less likely to have leakage.
In women who reported persistent urine leakage 3 months after childbirth, those who received intensive PFMT were 20% less likely to have leakage a year after delivery, and 50% less likely to have fecal incontinence.
Overall, the authors concluded that Pelvic Floor Muscle Training when provided in an intense individualized setting was able to reduce the prevalence of both urine and fecal incontinence (leakage) in both the later stages of pregnancy and after childbirth. Those women with the greatest risk for incontinence are those who have undergone the use of forceps or have delivered larger babies.
The Wise Wlephant Family Health Team recognizes the need for intensive pelvic floor muscle training. You can seek out this intensive pelvic floor muscle training from your Wise Elephant Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist.
About Cochrane Reviews
Cochrane Reviews are research based reviews relating to health care and health policy, and are internationally recognized as the highest standard in evidence based health care. Cochrane reviews investigate the effects of medical interventions as they relate to prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.