Postpartum Women

Lori Walton, Maggie Hernandez, Gretchen Krivak (Physical Therapy, Nutrition)

Effects of Exercise and Nutrition Education Program on the Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL), Pelvic Pain and Incontinence, and Nutrition for Postpartum Women

This research seeks to explore the effects of a 12-week postpartum exercise and nutrition education program on the health related quality of life (HRQOL) as measured by the SF-36, pelvic pain and incontinence as measured by the Pelvic Pain Inventory, and nutrition intake for women in the chronic postpartum period (up to three years following birth). 

Research Design: This is a prospective quasi-experimental correlational purposive sampling study of one hundred postpartum women, between the ages of 18-50 years of age, recruited from and in collaboration with participating WIC center in South Bend, Indiana.

Methodology: Participants will be recruited with flyers and verbal request through Women Infants and Children (WIC), voluntary written consent and IRB approval will be obtained prior to beginning the study. The study will take place at WIC in South Bend, Indiana. Subjects will complete the SF-36, nutritional questionnaire, and Pelvic Pain Inventory questionnaire prior to beginning, at 6 weeks, and at the culmination of three one hour nutrition and exercise training sessions over a period of 12 weeks. All applicants will be screened by a licensed physical therapist in the state of Indiana and two registered dietitians, one with MPH and the other with a MS in health and Wellness prior to initiation of the education program. Exercise sessions will focus on pelvic floor rehabilitiation protocol and comply with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologic Exercise recommendations (ACOG, 2010). Educational sessions will include pelvic and abdominal exercises commonly utilized to reduce pain and urinary incontinence for females in the postpartum period and a nutrition program focused on healthy eating habits.

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