Postpartum Pelvic Floor Muscle Training in Women With and Without Injured Pelvic Floor Muscles
Although pregnancy and childbirth are associated with happiness and a positive life change for most women, it can also be considered as risk periods for injuries to the pelvic floor and development of pelvic floor dysfunction. This may leed to devastating loss of function and quality of life (Ashton-Miller & DeLancey 2007).
The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of postpartum pelvic floor muscle training for primiparous women with and without pelvic floor muscle injury.
|Study Design:||Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
|Official Title:||The Effect of Postpartum Pelvic Floor Muscle Training in Women With Injured and Non-injured Pelvic Floor Muscles. A Single Blind Randomized Controlled Trial|
- Urinary Incontinence (Prevalence) [ Time Frame: 6 months postpartum (end of intervention) ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]Urinary incontinence was assessed by The International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire Urinary Incontinence Short Form (ICIQ-UI Short Form questionnaire, www.iciq.net). Women were considered as incontinent if they reported to leak urine (yes/no) at any frequency.
- Urinary Incontinence (Positive Pad Test) [ Time Frame: 6 months postpartum (end of intervention) ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
Urinary incontinence assessed by pad test, as described by Mørkved and Bø (1997). The cutoff value for a positive test was 2 gram.
After voiding, the women drank one litre of water. Thirty minutes later they wore a pre-weighted pad and performed a stress test as follows:
- Jumping up and down with maximal intensity for 30 seconds.
- Jumping with the legs in alternate abduction and adduction (Jumping Jacks) with maximal intensity for another 30 seconds.
- Coughing as hard as possible three times. As in the study by Mørkved and Bø (1997), a positive pad-test was set to a cut-off of 2 gram of leakage.
|Study Start Date:||February 2010|
|Study Completion Date:||January 2013|
|Primary Completion Date:||December 2012 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)|
Experimental: Postpartum pelvic floor muscle training
Beyond a customary leaflet (received from the postnatal ward) and the thorough initial instruction on how to contract the PFM correctly, the participants are given supervised pelvic floor muscle group training led by physiotherapists once a week. In addition, the participants train every day at home, with at least 3 sets of 8-12 contractions. Training period is 4 months.
Other: Postpartum pelvic floor muscle training
Beyond a customary leaflet and thorough initial instruction on how to contract the PFM correctly, the training participants will attend one weekly supervised exercise class led by an experienced physiotherapist, and perform daily training at home. The intervention starts 6-8 weeks postpartum and last for 4 months. General principles for strength training are followed: 3 sets of 8-12 contractions close to maximum (Bø 1990, Haskell 2007). Emphasis will be on progression in force development. The participants are provided with a DVD of the program (www.corewellness.co.uk). At week 4 during the intervention, the PFM strength will be assessed for each participant. Training adherence at home will be recorded in a training diary, whereas the physical therapist will record group session adherence.
Other Name: Postpartum PFMT
No Intervention: Control
Beyond the customary leaflet (received from the postnatal ward) and the thorough initial instruction on how to contract the PFM correctly, the control group participants received no further intervention. They were not discouraged from doing PFMT on their own.
Injuries to the pelvic floor muscles (PFM) and fascias may lead to urinary incontinence (UI), fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse (POP), sensory and emptying abnormalities of the lower urinary tract, defecatory dysfunction, sexual dysfunction and chronic pain syndromes (Bump & Norton 1998, MacLennan et al 2009, Turner et al 2000). Prevalence rates of the most common pelvic floor disorders are generally high in the fertile female population
To date many randomized controlled trials (RCT) have demonstrated significant effect of pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) in treatment of stress and mixed urinary incontinence, and it is recommended as first line treatment for stress and mixed UI in women (Level I, Grade A) (Abrams 2010). The effect of postpartum PFMT in prevention and treatment of urinary incontinence is investigated in only four RCTs (Sleep 1987, Meyer 2001, Chiarelli 2001, Ewings 2005) and one matched controlled trial (Mørkved 1997). The results are conflicting. The matched controlled trial by Mørkved (1997) shows the far most effective intervention so far, with 50% less prevalence of UI in the training group. Similar results were found for the same long term effect with 50% less prevalence of UI in the training group with the same long term effect (Mørkved 2000). The high effect size may be explained by the close follow-up and relative high training dosage. However, as this was not a RCT, the effect may be overestimated and the trial is often not included in systematic reviews (Hay-Smith 2008).
Only few research groups have measured PFM function and strength, and there are no studies evaluating possible effects of PFMT on PFM injuries and morphology following pregnancy and childbirth. DeLancey (1996) have suggested that the effect of PFMT would be much higher if we knew the causes of incontinence and were able to include only those with intact pelvic floor muscles. This may be true, but the statement also reflects a belief that muscle injury of the PFM cannot be treated with exercise. However, this is in contrast to common practice in treatment of other skeletal muscles e.g. after sport injuries, where all injuries are treated and it is believed that early mobilization and training is important in speeding up tissue healing (Järvinen 2007). Hence, there is a need to conduct a RCT with high methodological and interventional quality (Herbert 2005) to investigate the effect of postpartum PFMT.
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01069484
|Akershus University Hospital, Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology|
|Lørenskog, Akershus, Norway, 1478|
|Study Director:||Kari Bø, Prof,PhD,PT||Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Dept of Sports Medicine/Akershus University Hospital, Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology|