Pelvic organ support several years after a first birth

Int Urogynecol J. 2017 Oct;28(10):1499-1505. doi: 10.1007/s00192-017-3297-4. Epub 2017 Mar 11.


Introduction and hypothesis: Female pelvic organ prolapse is highly prevalent and childbirth has been shown to be an important risk factor. The study was carried out to observe if pelvic organ support deteriorates over time following a first birth.

Methods: This is a retrospective review using archived data sets of women seen in the context of two prospective perinatal imaging studies. All subjects had undergone a standardised interview, a clinical examination and 4D translabial ultrasound, 3 months and 2-5 years post-partum. Main outcome measures were pelvic organ descent and hiatal area at maximum Valsalva manoeuvre. Means at the two time points were compared using paired Student's t test. Predictors of change over time in continuous variables were explored using linear modelling methods.

Results: A total of 300 women had at least two postnatal follow-ups. They were first seen on average 0.39 (SD 0.2, range 0.2-2.1) years and again 3.1 (SD 1.5, range 1.4-8) years after the index delivery, with a mean interval of 2.71 (SD 1.5, range 0.7-7.7) years, providing a total of 813 (300 × 2.71) woman-years of observation. On univariate analysis, there was a significant decrease in mobility over time of the bladder neck, bladder, and rectal ampulla (P = < 0.004) and hiatal area (P = 0.012). The degree of improvement was less marked in women with levator avulsion.

Conclusions: A significant reduction in pelvic organ descent and hiatal area was noted over a mean of 2.7 years after a first birth.

Keywords: Pelvic floor; Pelvic organ prolapse; Postpartum period; Ultrasonography.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Parturition / physiology*
  • Pelvic Floor / diagnostic imaging
  • Pelvic Floor / physiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult