Background: Pelvic floor disorders affect many women globally.
Objective: To provide a critical appraisal of the literature on the effects of pelvic floor disorders on the quality of life and functioning of pregnant and postnatal women.
Methods: Available literature was reviewed and summarized to discuss the definitions, pelvic floor anatomy, dysfunctions, and the mechanism of the condition, and more specifically, on the strengthening exercises for the pelvic floor muscles.
Results: Pelvic floor disorder is an important public health concern because of the high prevalence, deleterious effects on pregnancy, and its outcomes as well as impacts on the health care system. They include genuine urinary incontinence, bladder and bowel incontinence, pelvic pain, weakness of the pelvic muscles, weakness of the muscles of the core stability, and the prolapse of pelvic organs. Pregnancy and subsequent vaginal delivery are causes associated with pelvic floor muscle disorders. Approximately 60% and 50% of community settlers and residents of nursing homes respectively are affected by urinary incontinence and the numbers increase with hysterectomy. Multiple birth, obesity, chronic coughs, overweight babies, and heavy lifting are associated with risk factors. Treatment of pelvic floor muscle disorders should involve an increased physical activity prescription among women diagnosed with weaker pelvic floor muscles, engaging the multidisciplinary team, increasing the quality of life and functioning of women during and after pregnancy. Training aimed at strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is beneficial and prevents dysfunctions.
Conclusion: Structured and well organised pelvic floor muscle training regimen, also known as Kegel exercises, is important in preventing disorders of the pelvic floor during pregnancy and after delivery.