The objective of this study was to ascertain the prevalence of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) during pregnancy with a prospective survey in the UK.
Pregnant women over the age of 18 years booked for shared antenatal care at a district general hospital were asked to complete a validated 14-stem questionnaire enquiring about lower urinary tract symptoms. (ICIQ-FLUTS). Primary outcome measure was completion of the ICIQ-FLUTS questionnaire. Secondary analysis included the prevalence and odds ratios of individual symptoms that make up the ICIQ-FLUTS score.
In all, 383 women completed the questionnaire. The most common symptom reported was urgency with a prevalence of 80%. Urgency was over twice as likely to be reported in those with a BMI > 30. The next most common symptom reported was stress incontinence with 65% of participants reporting some leakage on exertion. The likelihood of reporting stress incontinence increased with parity, BMI > 30 and participants in the third trimester with odds ratios of 1.81, 2.07 and 2.09, respectively. Women were almost four times more likely to report any type of urinary incontinence if they had had a vaginal birth in their first pregnancy compared to those who had a caesarean section and women who had a forceps delivery were seven times more likely to report incontinence.
The antenatal period may represent an important opportunity for health promotion and intervention. The high prevalence of LUTS in our antenatal population highlights the need to educate women on bladder care.