Table of Contents
ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 2013, Article ID 947572, 8 pages
Research Article

Prevalence and Risk Indicators for Anal Incontinence among Pregnant Women

1Department of Obstetrics and Department of Gynaecology, Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, Pb 4965, Nydalen, 0424 Oslo, Norway
2Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway
3Women's Health and Perinatology Research Group, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Tromsø, 9019 Tromsø, Norway
4Unit of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Oslo University Hospital, Pb 4965, Nydalen, 0424 Oslo, Norway

Received 15 March 2013; Accepted 23 April 2013

Academic Editors: L. G. Bahamondes, E. Cosmi, I. Diez-Itza, and C. J. Petry

Copyright © 2013 Katariina Laine et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and risk factors of anal incontinence in an unselected pregnant population at second trimester. A survey of pregnant women attending a routine ultrasound examination was conducted in a university hospital in Oslo, Norway. A questionnaire consisting of 105 items concerning anal incontinence (including St. Mark’s score), urinary incontinence, medication use, and comorbidity was posted to women when invited to the ultrasound examination. Results. Prevalence of self-reported anal incontinence (St. Mark’s score ≥ 3) was the lowest in the group of women with a previous cesarean section only (6.4%) and the highest among women with a previous delivery complicated by obstetric anal sphincter injury (24.4%). Among nulliparous women the prevalence of anal incontinence was 7.7% and was associated to low educational level and comorbidity. Prevalence of anal incontinence increased with increasing parity. Urinary incontinence was associated with anal incontinence in all parity groups. Conclusions. Anal incontinence was most frequent among women with a history of obstetric anal sphincter injury. Other obstetrical events had a minor effect on prevalence of anal incontinence among parous women. Prevention of obstetrical sphincter injury is likely the most important factor for reducing bothersome anal incontinence among fertile women.