Urinary incontinence is a common and distressing condition affecting women worldwide. However, urinary incontinence during pregnancy was less studied. The study aims to investigate the prevalence and risk factors of urinary incontinence during pregnancy, its impact on health-related quality of life as well as associated help-seeking behavior.
Eligible women were enrolled in the obstetric wards of a tertiary maternity hospital. Urinary incontinence, generic and specific health-related quality of life were assessed using the International Consultation on Incontinence Modular Questionnaire-Urinary Incontinence Short Form (ICIQ-UI SF), the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey version 2 (SF-12v2), Urogenital Distress Inventory short form (UDI-6) and Incontinence Impact Questionnaire short form (IIQ-7), respectively. Multiple logistic regression and multiple linear regression analysis were used to examine risk factors of urinary incontinence during pregnancy and the impact of incontinence on health-related quality of life of pregnant women, respectively.
A total of 1243 women were enrolled in the study. The prevalence of urinary incontinence during pregnancy was 52.0%. Most women suffered from mild or moderate incontinence. Five risk factors were identified by multiple logistic regression. Urinary incontinence before pregnancy was the strongest predictor for incontinence during pregnancy (OR = 4.178, 95% CI = 2.690–6.490), followed by history of vaginal birth, coffee consumption, childhood enuresis and history of urinary tract infection. Urinary incontinence had significant impact on health-related quality of life during pregnancy. Only 14.8% of pregnant women sought professional help for urinary symptoms.
Urinary incontinence was highly prevalent in pregnant women, with a broad detrimental effect on health-related quality of life. Five factors were confirmed to be associated with increasing the risk of developing urinary incontinence during pregnancy. The help-seeking behavior during pregnancy was discouraging. Targeted interventions are warranted to facilitate the prevention of urinary incontinence and improvement of health-related quality of life in pregnant women.