The impact of first pregnancy and delivery on pelvic floor dysfunction

by Constantin Durnea

Institution: University College Cork
Year: 2015
Keywords: Pelvic floor dysfunction; POP; POP-Q; ELISA test; Collagen; LAM; LAM trauma; RF; Urinary incontinence; Urinary urgency; Urinary frequency; Coital incontinence; Faecal incontinence; Faecal urgency; Obstructed micturition; Obstructed defaecation; Bother; Impact on social life; Pelvic organ prolpase; Cystocele
Record ID: 1181121
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10468/1790


Health Research Board (SCOPE HRBI CSA 2007/2); Accepted Version Background: The first childbirth has the greatest impact on a woman’s pelvic floor when major changes occur. The aim of this study was to comprehensively describe pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) in young nulliparous women, and its correlation with postnatal pathology. Methods: A prospective study was performed at Cork University Maternity Hospital, Ireland. Initially 1484 nulliparous women completed the validated Australian Pelvic Floor Questionnaire at 15 weeks’ gestation and repeatedly at one year postnatally (N=872). In the second phase, at least one year postnatally, 202 participants without subsequent pregnancies attended the clinical follow up which included: pelvic organ prolapse quantification, a 3D-Transperineal ultrasound scan and collagen level assessment. Results: A high pre-pregnancy prevalence of various types of PFD was detected, which in the majority of cases persisted postnatally and included multiple types of PFD. The first birth had a negative impact on severity of pre-pregnancy symptoms in <15% of cases. Apart from prolapse, vaginal delivery, including instrumental delivery did not increase the risk of PFD symptoms, where as Caesarean section was protective for all types of PFD. The first birth had a bigger impact on pre-existing symptoms of overactive bladder compared to stress urinary incontinence. Pelvic organ prolapse is extremely prevalent in young primiparous women, however usually it is low grade and asymptomatic. Congenital factors and high collagen type III levels play an important role in the aetiology of pelvic organs prolapse. Levator ani trauma is present in one in three women after the first pregnancy and delivery. Conclusion: The main damage to the pelvic floor most likely occurs due to an undiagnosed congenital intrinsic weakness of the pelvic floor structures. PFD is highly associated with first childbirth, however it seems that pregnancy and delivery are contributing factors only which unmask the congenital intrinsic weakness of the pelvic floor support.