Introduction: Nurse-midwives care for women from puberty until the end of life. As primary care providers, they are “with women” to help them reach optimal well-being, including pelvic floor outcomes. Pelvic floor health is important not only during menopause and aging but also throughout pregnancy and childbirth. This review examined the impact that prenatal education or training on pelvic floor muscle exercise (PFME) had on women’s pelvic floors. Methods: An integrative review was conducted after searching CINAHL, PubMed, and Scopus on the terms antenatal, pregnancy, prenatal, education, attitudes, knowledge, and pelvic floor. Original works from 2015–2022 examining the effects of antenatal education/training and pelvic floor health on the antepartum, intrapartum, or postpartum periods were included. Postpartum education, surgical interventions, use of devices to train the pelvic floor, and pilot studies were excluded. Articles were evaluated with the Johns Hopkins Nursing Research Appraisal Tool. Studies were categorized according to the COM-B system factors of capability, opportunity, and motivation to determine how they influenced PFME behavior. Results: The research indicated that when PFME is taught and supported prenatally, women are more likely to report increased knowledge about their pelvic floors. They also exhibit confidence in the correct performance of PFME. Women are also more likely to be practicing adequate PFME postpartum and have less involuntary loss of urine, stool, or flatus. There may be decreased pain with vaginal delivery as well as increased perineal integrity and increased sexual function. Discussion: Pelvic floor health encompasses outcomes such as preventing urinary and anal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse and improving perineal integrity at delivery, postpartum sexual function, and quality of life. These are compelling reasons for midwives to prioritize PFME education and training during prenatal visits.
Shir, H. L. (2022). Antenatal Pelvic Floor Education: A Review of the Midwifery Role in Promoting Pelvic Floor Health [Masterʼs thesis, Bethel University]. Spark Repository. https://spark.bethel.edu/etd/794