Benefits of a prenatal physical preparation program on the condition of the perineum and Apgar scores at birth
Prenatal physical preparation
Keywords:childbirth, physical preparation, pregnant women
Background/Aim: The practice of physical activities among pregnant women remains a significant health challenge in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The aim of this study was to examine the influence of prenatal physical preparation on the state of the perineum and Apgar scores at birth.
Methods: This experimental study included 89 pregnant women, with 38 of them subjected to an 8-month prenatal physical preparation program that involved weekly sessions of 45 min of low to moderate intensity. The remaining 51 pregnant women did not participate in the program and served as a control group. The variables of interest, including episiotomy, perineal tear, intact perineum, and Apgar scores, were measured, and the chi-square statistical test was used to compare the two study groups. P-values <0.05 were considered statistically significant.
Results: The present study reveals that the women in labor in the experimental group (EG) had fewer perineal tears and less episiotomy compared to the control group (CG). Specifically, the incidence of perineal tear was significantly lower in the EG (5.3%) than in the CG (27.5%) with a P-value of 0.001, while the incidence of episiotomy was also significantly lower in the EG (7.9%) than in the CG (25.5%) (P=0.032). Furthermore, a significant number of women in the EG (86.8%) had an intact perineum compared to those in the CG (47%) (P=0.001).
Conclusion: The delivery parameters of pregnant women who followed a prenatal physical preparation program underwent significant changes compared to those who did not participate in the program. These findings suggest that the program should be continued to improve the care of women who have given birth.
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