Magnetomyographic Recordings of Pelvic Floor Activity During Pregnancy and Postpartum: A Novel Non-invasive Approach

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2019 Jul;2019:1855-1858. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2019.8857009.


The levator ani muscles (LAM) are integral to pelvic floor support and injury to this muscle complex has been associated with pelvic floor disorders, but our ability to evaluate their neuromuscular integrity is limited. During pregnancy, gravidas undergo systemic functional and anatomic modifications, including pelvic floor muscular adaptations. Magnetomyography (MMG) is a novel and non-invasive tool to passively measure the magnetic fields generated by depolarization activity of muscles and offers a unique method to evaluate the LAM. We collected serial MMG data in a pregnant woman with singleton gestation. Pregnant woman performed LAM contractions (Kegels) with intervening rest periods. Kegel signals were isolated by using the frequency dependent subtraction (SUBTR) and independent component analysis (ICA) methods. Concurrent body-surface electromyography (EMG) was used to evaluate for accessory-muscle recruitment by placing bipolar electrodes on the perineum, abdomen, and thigh. Amplitude and spectral-related indicators were computed across moderate intensity MMG Kegel epochs: root-mean square (RMS) amplitude, power spectrum density (PSD) and relative PSD (rPSD) in three frequency bands. Indicators were extracted from two pregnancy recordings and one postpartum. Parameters were represented in terms of gestation and postpartum weeks. We observed that postpartum RMS Kegel amplitudes had lower values than seen in pregnancy. Changes in spectral indicators were observed between pregnancy and postpartum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Electromyography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Muscular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Pelvic Floor / physiopathology*
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy