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Open Access Research article

Pregnancy-related low back pain and pelvic girdle pain approximately 14 months after pregnancy – pain status, self-rated health and family situation

Cecilia Bergström1*, Margareta Persson12 and Ingrid Mogren1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

2 School of Health and Social Studies, Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014, 14:48  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-48

Published: 25 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) in pregnancy is distinct from pregnancy-related low back pain (PLBP). However, women with combined PLBP and PGP report more serious consequences in terms of health and function. PGP has been estimated to affect about half of pregnant women, where 25% experience serious pain and 8% experience severe disability. To date there are relatively few studies regarding persistent PLBP/PGP postpartum of more than 3 months, thus the main objective was to identify the prevalence of persistent PLBP and PGP as well as the differences over time in regard to pain status, self-rated health (SRH) and family situation at 12 months postpartum.

Methods

The study is a 12 month follow-up of a cohort of pregnant women developing PLBP and PGP during pregnancy, and who experienced persistent pain at 6 month follow-up after pregnancy. Women reporting PLBP/PGP (n = 639) during pregnancy were followed up with a second questionnaire at approximately six month after delivery. Women reporting recurrent or persistent LBP/PGP at the second questionnaire (n = 200) were sent a third questionnaire at 12 month postpartum.

Results

A total of 176 women responded to the questionnaire. Thirty-four women (19.3%) reported remission of LBP/PGP, whereas 65.3% (n = 115) and 15.3% (n = 27), reported recurrent LBP/PGP or continuous LBP/PGP, respectively. The time between base line and the 12 months follow-up was in actuality 14 months. Women with previous LBP before pregnancy had an increased odds ratio (OR) of reporting ‘recurrent pain’ (OR = 2.47) or ‘continuous pain’ (OR = 3.35) postpartum compared to women who reported ‘no pain’ at the follow-up. Women with ‘continuous pain’ reported statistically significant higher level of pain at all measure points (0, 6 and 12 months postpartum). Non-responders were found to report a statistically significant less positive scoring regarding relationship satisfaction compared to responders.

Conclusions

The results from this study demonstrate that persistent PLBP/PGP is a major individual and public health issue among women 14 months postpartum, negatively affecting their self-reported health. However, the perceived relationship satisfaction seems to be stable between the groups.