Objective\ud To identify obstetric and other risk factors for urinary incontinence which occurs during pregnancy or after childbirth.\ud Design\ud Questionnaire survey of women.\ud Setting\ud Maternity units in Aberdeen (Scotland), Birmingham (England) and Dunedin (New Zealand). \ud Population\ud 3405 primiparous women with singleton births delivered during one year.\ud Methods\ud Questionnaire responses and obstetric casenote data were analysed using multivariate analysis to identify associations with urinary incontinence.\ud Main outcome measures\ud Urinary incontinence at three months after delivery first starting in pregnancy or after birth.\ud Results\ud The prevalence of urinary incontinence was 29%. New incontinence first beginning after delivery was associated with higher maternal age (oldest versus youngest group, odds ratio, OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.35 to 3.02); and method of delivery (caesarean section versus spontaneous vaginal delivery, OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.41). There were no significant associations with forceps delivery (OR 1.18, 95% CI 0.92 to 1.51) or vacuum delivery (OR 1.16, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.63). Incontinence first occurring during pregnancy and still present at three months was associated with higher maternal body mass index (BMI > 25, OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.16 to 2.43), and heavier babies (birthweight in top quartile, OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.12 to 2.19). In these women, caesarean section was associated with less incontinence (OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.27 to 0.58) but incontinence was not associated with age.\ud Conclusions\ud Women have less urinary incontinence after a first delivery by caesarean section whether or not that first starts during pregnancy. Older maternal age was associated with new postnatal incontinence, and higher body mass index and heavier babies with incontinence first starting during pregnancy. The effect of further deliveries may modify these findings
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