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The Severity and Impact of Pelvic Girdle Pain and Low-Back Pain in Pregnancy: A Multinational Study.

Journal article
Authors Annelie Gutke
Jill Boissonnault
Gill Brook
Britt Stuge
Published in Journal of Women's Health
Volume 27
Issue 4
ISSN 1931-843X
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Language en
Subject categories Physiotherapy


Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) and low-back pain (LBP) are the most common musculoskeletal disorders experienced during pregnancy, yet they are not familiar to healthcare providers in some countries. The objective was to compare prevalence, severity, and impact of PGP and LBP among pregnant women in the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Sweden. Women's desires for, access to, and experience of treatment were also examined.This is a cross-sectional self-reported questionnaire study of pregnant women, recruited at maternity care units in gestational weeks 30-38. Main outcome measures were presence and impact of PGP and/or LBP.A total of 869 pregnant women from the United States (n = 214), the United Kingdom (n = 220), Norway (n = 220), and Sweden (n = 215) were included. PGP and/or LBP were reported by 70%-86%, with lowest prevalence in Scandinavia. Severity and impact differed significantly across countries (p < 0.001), with U.K. women reporting the highest pain intensity (Numeric Rating Scale [NRS] 7/10) and highest mean total score on the Pelvic Girdle Questionnaire (PGQ) (46/100). U.S. women were significantly less afflicted, with mean PGQ total score 35/100 (p ≤ 0.001). The countries differed regarding concern about PGP and/or LBP (p < 0.001), with U.K. women being most affected (NRS 5/10). Norwegian women were most likely to receive treatment (53%) and U.S. women least likely (24%) (p < 0.001). Among women receiving treatment, 68%-87% reported a positive effect.PGP and/or LBP during pregnancy are common in the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Sweden. Severity, concern, and treatment experiences differed across countries. The majority of women who received treatment reported a positive effect.

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