Why is education for pelvic floor muscle exercises a neglected public health issue?

Bethany Dickinson, Lesley Briscoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
258 Downloads (Pure)


Background Pelvic floor muscle exercises positively impact on urinary stress incontinence and quality of life for women. Aim To try and understand more about pelvic floor exercises. Methods A search was performed on Cochrane, CINAHL and Discover More. Delimiting the search provided 28 papers, which then informed this literature review. Differing methodology and small sample size of individual studies, variation in trainer and the design of pelvic floor muscle exercises education limited the evidence base. Findings Many barriers existed and women were found to be disinterested with pelvic floor exercises or unaware of the reasons for performing them. Those who were young, in their first pregnancy and from deprived areas were less likely to perform pelvic floor muscle exercises, as they had no access to information or believed they were not necessary. Midwives lacked confidence in their knowledge and suggested that other health professionals could perform promotion better. Conclusions It is important to investigate how midwives can influence education about pelvic floor muscle exercises and women’s perceptions. New and creative methods of health promotion are needed to engage women with pelvic floor muscle exercises more effectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-729
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number11
Early online date2 Nov 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Nov 2017


  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Education
  • Public health
  • Health promotion


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