Urinary incontinence during pregnancy: prevalence, experience of bother, beliefs, and help-seeking behavior

Heidi F. A. Moossdorff-Steinhauser*, Bary C. M. Berghmans, Marc E. A. Spaanderman, Esther M. J. Bols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Introduction and hypothesis Pregnancy and delivery are thought to induce urinary incontinence (UI), but its clinical impact is less known. Therefore, we investigated the prevalence of self-reported UI, level of experience of bother, and beliefs to gain a greater understanding of help-seeking behavior in adult pregnant women. Methods A digital survey shared on social media was used for recruitment. The survey consists of: (1) demographic variables, (2) International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Urinary Incontinence Short Form (ICIQ-UI SF), (3) ICIQ Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Quality of Life (ICIQ-LUTSqol), and (4) questions on beliefs and help-seeking behavior. For analysis, descriptive statistics and the independent samples t-test were used to determine differences between help- and non-help-seekers. Results Four hundred seven women were eligible for data analysis. The prevalence of UI rises from 55.1% in the first to 70.1% in the third trimester, with an overall prevalence of 66.8%. Nearly 43.0% of the respondents reported UI occurring once a week or less; 92.5% of women lost a small amount; 90% reported slight to moderate impact on quality of life. Only 13.1% of the respondents sought help for their UI. The main reasons for not seeking help were: minimal bother and the idea that UI would resolve by itself. Help-seeking women showed significantly higher scores than non-help-seeking women regarding ICIQ-UI SF (p <0.001), ICIQ-LUTSqol (p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-701
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Issue number3
Early online date20 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Help-seeking
  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises
  • Pre-partum
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of life
  • Urinary incontinence
  • ICIQ

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