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Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain: an update

Nikolaos K Kanakaris1, Craig S Roberts2 and Peter V Giannoudis3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK

2 Academic Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA

3 Academic Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, School of Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK

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BMC Medicine 2011, 9:15  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-15

Published: 15 February 2011

Abstract

A large number of scientists from a wide range of medical and surgical disciplines have reported on the existence and characteristics of the clinical syndrome of pelvic girdle pain during or after pregnancy. This syndrome refers to a musculoskeletal type of persistent pain localised at the anterior and/or posterior aspect of the pelvic ring. The pain may radiate across the hip joint and the thigh bones. The symptoms may begin either during the first trimester of pregnancy, at labour or even during the postpartum period. The physiological processes characterising this clinical entity remain obscure. In this review, the definition and epidemiology, as well as a proposed diagnostic algorithm and treatment options, are presented. Ongoing research is desirable to establish clear management strategies that are based on the pathophysiologic mechanisms responsible for the escalation of the syndrome's symptoms to a fraction of the population of pregnant women.