Should pregnant women know their individual risk of future pelvic floor dysfunction? A qualitative study



Bugge C, Strachan H, Pringle S, Hagen S, Cheyne H & Wilson D (2022) Should pregnant women know their individual risk of future pelvic floor dysfunction? A qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 22, Art. No.: 161.

Background The study aimed to explore: • pregnant women’s and healthcare professionals’ perspectives on provision of individual risk scores for future Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD), • the feasibility of providing this during routine maternity care, • actions women might take as a result of knowing their PFD risk. Methods Qualitative study. Setting: UK NHS Health Board. Participants: Pregnant women (n = 14), obstetricians (n = 6), midwives (n = 8) and physiotherapists (n = 3). A purposive sample of pregnant women and obstetric healthcare professionals were introduced to the UR-CHOICE calculator, which estimates a woman’s PFD risk, and were shown examples of low, medium and high-risk women. Data were collected in 2019 by semi-structured interview and focus group and analysed using the Framework Approach. Results Women’s PFD knowledge was limited, meaning they were unlikely to raise PFD risk with healthcare professionals. Women believed it was important to know their individual PFD risk and that knowledge would motivate them to undertake preventative activities. Healthcare professionals believed it was important to discuss PFD risk, however limited time and concerns over increased caesarean section rates prevented this in all but high-risk women or those that expressed concerns. Conclusion Women want to know their PFD risk. As part of an intervention based within a pregnant woman/ maternity healthcare professional consultation, the UR-CHOICE calculator could support discussion to consider preventative PFD activities and to enable women to be more prepared should PFD occur. A randomised controlled trial is needed to test the effectiveness of an intervention which includes the UR-CHOICE calculator in reducing PFD.

Pelvic floor dysfunction; Urinary incontinence; Faecal incontinence; Pelvic organ prolapse; Risk; Maternity care

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth: Volume 22

FundersCSO Chief Scientist Office
Publication date31/12/2022
Publication date online28/02/2022
Date accepted by journal17/02/2022

People (1)


Professor Helen Cheyne

Professor Helen Cheyne

Personal Chair, NMAHP

Projects (1)