Female urinary incontinence: Frequency, risk factors, and impact on the quality of life of pregnant Pakistani women

Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology


Objectives: To determine the frequency and associated risk factors of urinary incontinence (UI), and its effect on the quality of life (QOL) of pregnant Pakistani women.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of 309 pregnant women, 16-40 weeks gestation, age 18- 45 years, at the Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi, between August 2019 and February 2020. Data were obtained using the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Urinary Incontinence-Short form (ICIQ-UI-SF).
Results: The frequency of UI was 63.1%. Stress UI was the commonest type (53.0%) followed by urgency (17.5%) and mixed UI (11.7%). In majority of women, it occurred in small amounts, once a week with a very severe impact on QoL in 24.91% of women, affecting sexual relation the most. Risk factors for UI in pregnancy were age > 35 years (p < 0.02), gestation > 37 weeks (p< 0.00), higher body mass index and family history of UI (p< 0.00), previous instrumental vaginal delivery (P < 0.002), cough, constipation and strenuous job (p< 0.00), and lack of pelvic floor muscle exercises (p <0.03).
Conclusions: UI is a common problem in pregnant women in Pakistan. It affects sexual functions the most, with a severe impact on the QOL, however, it commonly remains unreported. Thus the health care providers need to enquire all pregnant women on this issue, especially those at risk, and educate them on the available management options.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences