Should pregnant women know their individual risk of future pelvic floor dysfunction? A qualitative study

Carol Bugge*, Heather Strachan, Stewart Pringle, Suzanne Hagen, Helen Cheyne, Don Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The study aimed to explore: • pregnant women’s and healthcare professionals’ perspectives on provision of individual risk scores for future Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD), • the feasibility of providing this during routine maternity care, • actions women might take as a result of knowing their PFD risk. Methods: Qualitative study. Setting: UK NHS Health Board. Participants: Pregnant women (n = 14), obstetricians (n = 6), midwives (n = 8) and physiotherapists (n = 3). A purposive sample of pregnant women and obstetric healthcare professionals were introduced to the UR-CHOICE calculator, which estimates a woman’s PFD risk, and were shown examples of low, medium and high-risk women. Data were collected in 2019 by semi-structured interview and focus group and analysed using the Framework Approach. Results: Women’s PFD knowledge was limited, meaning they were unlikely to raise PFD risk with healthcare professionals. Women believed it was important to know their individual PFD risk and that knowledge would motivate them to undertake preventative activities. Healthcare professionals believed it was important to discuss PFD risk, however limited time and concerns over increased caesarean section rates prevented this in all but high-risk women or those that expressed concerns. Conclusion: Women want to know their PFD risk. As part of an intervention based within a pregnant woman/ maternity healthcare professional consultation, the UR-CHOICE calculator could support discussion to consider preventative PFD activities and to enable women to be more prepared should PFD occur. A randomised controlled trial is needed to test the effectiveness of an intervention which includes the UR-CHOICE calculator in reducing PFD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number161
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2022


  • faecal incontinence
  • maternity care
  • pelvic floor dysfunction
  • pelvic organ prolapse
  • risk
  • urinary incontinence
  • state medicine
  • humans
  • risk factors
  • maternal health services
  • health knowledge, attitudes, practice
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology
  • pelvic floor disorders/prevention & control
  • pregnancy
  • health personnel/psychology
  • Adult
  • Female
  • risk assessment/methods
  • pregnant women/psychology
  • qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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