Prevalence, incidence and bothersomeness of urinary incontinence in pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

H.F.A. Moossdorff-Steinhauser*, B.C.M. Berghmans, M.E.A. Spaanderman, E.M.J. Bols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

15 Citations (Web of Science)


Introduction and hypothesis Urinary incontinence (UI) is a common and embarrassing complaint for pregnant women. Reported prevalence and incidence figures show a large range, due to varying case definitions, recruited population and study methodology. Precise prevalence and incidence figures on (bothersome) UI are of relevance for health care providers, policy makers and researchers. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the prevalence and incidence of UI in pregnancy in the general population for relevant subgroups and assessed experienced bother. Methods All observational studies published between January 1998 and October 2018 reporting on prevalence and/or incidence of UI during pregnancy were included. All women, regardless of weeks of gestation and type of UI presented in all settings, were of interest. A random-effects model was used. Subgroup analyses were conducted by parity, trimester and subtype of UI. Results The mean (weighted) prevalence based on 44 included studies, containing a total of 88.305 women, was 41.0% (range of 9-75%). Stress urinary incontinence (63%) is the most prevalent type of UI; 26% of the women reported daily loss, whereas 40% reported loss on a monthly basis. Bother was experienced as mild to moderate. Conclusions UI is very prevalent and rising with the weeks of gestation in pregnancy. SUI is the most common type and in most cases it was a small amount. Bother for UI is heterogeneously assessed and experienced as mild to moderate by pregnant women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1633-1652
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Issue number7
Early online date13 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • bother
  • incidence
  • pregnancy
  • prevalence
  • systematic review
  • urinary incontinence
  • Pregnancy
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Prevalence
  • Systematic review
  • Bother
  • Incidence

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