ABDOMINAL MUSCLE STRENGTH AND SOME RESPIRATORY FUNCTION INDICES IN SUBJECTS OF VARYING PARITY STATUS
This clinical evaluation study was carried out to compare the strength ofabdominal muscles and some respiratory function indices in volunteer women of childbearing age. The population for this study comprised: volunteer female staff of the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan; female students of the College ofMedicine, University of Ibadan and postnatal patients of UCH, Ibadan, Nigeria. One hundred women of childbearing age volunteered to participate in the study; they comprised 50 postparous and 50 nulliparous subjects who were recruited as they became available. Data were collected over a period of8 weeks. The vital capacity (VC), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) and strength of the abdominal muscles were measured. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics of mean, standard deviation and inferential statistics of t-test at 0.05 alpha level of significance. The results showed that while PEFR and abdominal muscle strength were significantly higher in the nulliparous group (p < 0.05), vital capacity, a ventilatory parameter, was not significantly different in the two groups. The study concluded that the significantly lower abdominal muscle strength and PEFR in the post-parous subjects can be attributed to restrictive anatomical features of the rib cage. The study therefore recommended that there is a need for obstetricians in charge of ante and postnatal women to refer them for physiotherapy for abdominal muscle strengthening programmes. This will strengthen their abdominal muscles and promote respiratory efficiency.
parity, respiratory function indices, abdominal muscle strength