Urinary incontinence (UI) can affect one in three women after childbirth. Evidence suggests that performing pelvic floor muscle exercises (PFME) during pregnancy can prevent antenatal and postnatal UI, yet many women report they are not sure what to do.
While resources are available to support PFME, there is evidence that self-management resources are more likely to be accessed by people with higher levels of education.
Video resources to explain how to contract and strengthen the pelvic floor were originally produced to support training for midwives as part of the APPEAL research project. However, it was recognised that the videos may also be helpful to support women, as well as midwives, to perform PFME.
The South West AHSN has supported the University of Exeter and Wild to improve APPEAL resources for women and extend their reach by working with women from under-served populations, such as rural or coastal communities to co-produce new videos.
Wild, based in Cornwall, was selected as a partner organisation to ensure input from women who are often marginalised and unheard, and who are rarely given the opportunity to contribute to matters that directly affect their health and care.
Survey responses and feedback from the group session (n=6) indicated that the women had greater awareness and understanding of PFME because of being involved in this project and felt more confident to manage their pelvic health and seek help for UI if required.