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Pelvic-Floor Exercise Training and Prenatal Exercise Programs

Add targeted training to a high-/low-impact exercise program to improve incontinence.

Pelvic floor

Postpartum women often find themselves coping with the discomforts of incontinence. To determine whether targeted training could help, Polish researchers at Gdansk University evaluated the effects of adding pelvic-floor muscle education and training to a prenatal high-/low-impact exercise program.

Investigators compared reports from 133 pregnant women who attended this training program from the second trimester of pregnancy through birth, three times a week, with feedback from 127 women in a control group who received no training. All subjects provided details about the impact of incontinence on their lives 2 months after birth and 1 year postpartum.

Data analysis showed that participants who followed the high-low program and received pelvic-floor education reported significantly less impact on their lives from incontinence than the control group. Between the two assessments, training group women experienced a 38% decrease in symptoms compared with a 20% decrease among women in the control group.

The conclusion: Adding pelvic-floor education and training may help women continue high-intensity exercise and reduce postnatal urinary incontinence. The study appeared in Medicine (2020; 99 [6], e18874).

See also: Training the Pelvic Core

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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