Urinary Incontinence in Pregnant Young Women and Adolescents: An Unrecognized At-Risk Group

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The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of urinary incontinence (UI) in pregnant young women and adolescents, characterize UI subtype, and identify characteristics associated with UI.


This was a cross-sectional study of pregnant females aged 25 years or below, presenting for routine obstetrical care at a New York City community hospital. Subjects were stratified into 2 groups: adolescents (age, ≤19 years) and young adults (age, >19 years). Demographic and obstetric data were collected. The 3 Incontinence Questions questionnaire was used to screen and evaluate UI symptoms.


A total of 98 young females with a mean age of 20.3 ± 2.6 years were enrolled. Most participants were nulliparous (64%). Of parous women, route of previous obstetric delivery was primarily vaginal (83%). Mean gestational age at recruitment was 34.5 ± 7.5 weeks. The prevalence of UI was 52%. Urinary incontinence was associated with the following conditions: strenuous activity, 73%; urinary urgency, 67%; and absence of either, 20%. However, the most predominant UI subtype was with strenuous activity (63%). There was no statistical difference detected in demographic characteristics (such as age, parity, mode of delivery, race, education, and trimester of pregnancy) between continent and incontinent pregnant females (P > 0.18). No differences were appreciated between pregnant adolescents and young adult females with UI (P > 0.18).


Urinary incontinence was present in 52% of pregnant females aged 25 years or below. By age group, approximately 50% of both adolescents and young adults reported UI during pregnancy. Continent and incontinent patients did not seem to differ demographically. Our study highlights the extent of UI in this segment of the population. This data may support the need for services targeting UI prevention and early intervention in this newly identified at-risk group.

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