Pelvic floor awareness and the positive effect of verbal instructions in 958 women early postdelivery

It is not known exactly how reliable a personal belief is about the ability to do pelvic floor muscle (PFM) contractions early after delivery and how instructional feedback affects pelvic floor muscle contraction (PFMC) performance. It was hypothesized that many women do not have a reliable idea about PFMC and that instructional feedback can help improve their control. Prospective observational study in 958 women (median 30 years) early postdelivery PFMC was evaluated with visual observation: an inward movement of the perineum was accepted as sign of good contraction. The women who could not show PFMC three consecutive times got verbal instructions, and re-evaluation was afterward. In 500 women, no inward movement of the perineum was observed: 275 women (29%) showed no movement at all, and 225 women (24%) showed some movement but no inward displacement. In 33.4%, the personal conviction to be able or not to perform PFMC proved false. After verbal instructions, 74% improved their PFMC.

The belief of doing correct PFM contraction was false in at least one of five postpartum women. Verbal instructions have a beneficial effect on performing PFMC in 73.6% of women.