Association Between Obstetric History and Urinary Incontinence in a Cohort of Resistance-Trained Women

Lolita Wikander, Marilynne N. Kirshbaum, Nasreena Waheed, Daniel E. Gahreman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose: Urinary incontinence has the potential to reduce participation in sport and exercise and diminish athletic performance. The purpose of this study was to explore the association between obstetric history and urinary incontinence in a cohort of resistance-trained women. Patients and Methods: This international, cross-sectional survey was completed by 1252 women competing in either powerlifting, weightlifting or CrossFit. The Incontinence Severity Index determined the severity of urinary incontinence. Results: Almost 43% of the participants experienced urinary incontinence in the threemonths prior to the study. The prevalence of urinary incontinence in this cohort according to mode of birth were: caesarean 42.6%, unassisted vaginal 59.3%, vacuum extraction 58.8%, forceps 60.3%, vaginal and caesarean births 66.2%, forceps and vacuum extraction 73.1%. The prevalence of urinary incontinence in the subgroup of women who had undergone urogenital surgery was 63.6%. Kendall’s tau-b indicated that the correlation between ISI score and the number of births was strong and positive (τ = 0.25, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Our results suggest that both the number of births and mode of birth influenced the likelihood of urinary incontinence in resistance-trained women. Women who had experienced only caesarean births had the lowest likelihood of urinary incontinence, while women who had experienced both vaginal and caesarean births had the most severe and second highest likelihood of urinary incontinence. Women who had undergone urogenital surgery continued to experience a high likelihood of urinary incontinence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1211-1218
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Women's Health
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • pelvic floor
  • pregnancy
  • resistance training
  • strength training


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