Pelvic floor muscle training program increases muscular contractility during first pregnancy and postpartum: electromyographic study

Neurourol Urodyn. 2013 Sep;32(7):998-1003. doi: 10.1002/nau.22346. Epub 2012 Nov 5.


Aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a training program over both pelvic floor muscles contractility and urinary symptoms in primigravid pregnant and postpartum primiparous women.

Patients and methods: A clinical, prospective and blinded trial was conducted with 33 women divided into three groups: (G1) 13 primigravid pregnant women; (G2) 10 postpartum primiparous women (49.3 ± 5.84 days), after vaginal delivery with right mediolateral episiotomy; (G3) 10 postpartum primiparous women (46.3 ± 3.6 days), after cesarean section delivery. The evaluation was carried out using digital palpation (Modified Oxford Grading Scale), pelvic floor electromyography and, for the investigation of urinary symptoms, validated questionnaires (International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-short form-ICIQ-UI SF and International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire Overactive Bladder-ICIQ-OAB). The protocol consisted of 10 individual sessions carried out by the physiotherapist through home visits, three times a week, with 60 min duration each. The statistical analysis was performed using ANOVA and Spearman's correlation coefficient.

Results: The pelvic floor muscle contractility increased after the training program (P = 0.0001) for all groups. Decreases in the scores of both ICIQ-UI SF (P = 0.009) and ICIQ-OAB (P = 0.0003) were also observed after training.

Conclusion: Pelvic floor muscle training is an effective means for the increase in its own contractility in both primigravid pregnant and primiparous postpartum women, accompanied with a concomitant decrease in urinary symptoms.

Keywords: EMG; electromyography; pelvic floor; pelvic floor muscle training; postpartum; pregnancy; urinary symptoms.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brazil
  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects
  • Electromyography*
  • Episiotomy / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Palpation
  • Parity*
  • Pelvic Floor / physiopathology*
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders / diagnosis
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders / etiology
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders / physiopathology
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Incontinence / diagnosis
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Urinary Incontinence / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult