Is Something Missing From Antenatal Education? A Survey of Pregnant Women's Knowledge of Pelvic Floor Disorders

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Abstract

Objective

This study aimed to describe the knowledge on pelvic floor disorders among a cross section of pregnant women.

Study Design

This was an institutional review board–approved cross-sectional survey study of pregnant women with a gestational age of more than 18 weeks at a single tertiary care institution. Participants completed the validated 24-item Prolapse and Incontinence Knowledge Questionnaire, and responses were graded to determine a raw accuracy score (0–100%). Proficiency in the topic was defined as a score greater than 80% on the urinary scale and greater than 50% on the prolapse scale.

Results

Four hundred two women completed the survey. Mean ± SD raw accuracy in urinary incontinence was 66% ± 12%, and mean ± SD raw accuracy in pelvic organ prolapse was 41% ± 17%. These results were not significantly different among age or ethnic groups. Pregnant women were more likely to know that delivery could lead to incontinence (62%) than to pelvic organ prolapse (42%; P = 0.02), and 83% knew that pelvic floor exercises could prevent urinary incontinence. Proficiency was low among the population on both scales.

Conclusions

Pregnant women have limited knowledge about pelvic floor dysfunction despite being at increased risk for these conditions during and after their pregnancies. This is an area where patient education and empowerment during routine prenatal care could improve.

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