Perineal muscle strength during pregnancy and postpartum: the correlation between perineometry and digital vaginal palpation.
Digital vaginal palpation performed during clinical practice can help diagnose urinary, intestinal and sexual disorders, while perineometry is more useful for performing perineal exercises with biofeedback. This study verifies whether there is a correlation between values of Pelvic Floor Muscle Strength (PFMS) obtained through perineometry performed with an electronic perineometer and through digital vaginal palpation using the Oxford scale. This is a prospective cohort study with 330 measurements carried out in 110 women. Data were collected from 2007 to 2008 in the health service system in Itapecerica da Serra, São Paulo, Brazil. Evaluations were carried out at three points in time: up to 12 weeks of pregnancy; between 36-40 weeks; and between 42-60 days postpartum. The Spearman coefficient indicated a strong positive correlation between the two evaluation methods for the three evaluations (p<0.0001). The conclusion is that both methods are valid for measuring PFMS during pregnancy and after delivery.