Childbirth and prolapse: long-term associations with the symptoms and objective measurement of pelvic organ prolapse

C Glazener, A Elders, C Macarthur, R J Lancashire, P Herbison, S Hagen, N Dean, C Bain, P Toozs-Hobson, K Richardson, A McDonald, G McPherson, D Wilson, ProLong study group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Objectives
To investigate prolapse symptoms and objectively measured pelvic organ prolapse, 12 years after childbirth, and association with delivery mode history.

Design
Twelve-year longitudinal study.

Setting
Maternity units in Aberdeen, Birmingham and Dunedin.

Population
Women dwelling in the community.

Methods
Data from women were collected 12 years after an index birth and women were invited for examination. Logistic regression investigated associations between risk factors and prolapse symptoms and signs.

Main outcome measures
Prolapse symptom score (POP-SS); objectively measured prolapse (POP-Q).

Results
Of 7725 continuing women, 3763 (49%) returned questionnaires at 12 years. The median POP-SS score was 2 (IQR 0–4). One or more forceps deliveries (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.04–1.38) and a body mass index (BMI) over 25 were associated with higher (worse) POP-SS scores, but age over 25 years at first delivery was associated with lower (better) scores. There was no protective effect if all deliveries were by caesarean section (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.69–1.02). Objective prolapse was found in 182/762 (24%) women. Women aged over 30 years when having their first baby and parity were significantly associated with prolapse. Compared with women whose births were all spontaneous vaginal deliveries, women who had all births by caesarean section were the least likely to have prolapse (OR 0.11, 95% CI 0.03–0.38), and there was a reduced risk after forceps or a mixture of spontaneous vaginal delivery and caesarean section.

Conclusions
These findings are at odds with each other, suggesting that prolapse symptoms and objective prolapse may not be in concordance, or are associated with different antecedent factors. Further follow-up is planned.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalBJOG-An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Volume120
Issue number2
Early online date27 Nov 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

Keywords

  • childbirth
  • delivery
  • faecal incontinence
  • pelvic organ prolapse
  • urinary incontinence

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