Editorials

Pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7511.249 (Published 28 July 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:249
  1. R William Stones ([email protected]), senior lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology,
  2. Kathleen Vits, clinical specialist physiotherapist
  1. University of Southampton School of Medicine, Southampton SO16 5YA
  2. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton

    Exercises may help, and evidence is increasing that acupuncture reduces pain

    Musculoskeletal pain in the pelvic area is common during pregnancy and can cause substantial distress and disruption of function. The lack of any standard definitions of such pain, however, makes it difficult to compare reports of prevalence, treatments, and outcomes. Useful terms for different clinical subgroups include pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain and pregnancy related low back pain.1 Authors of British review articles and case reports often use the term symphysis pubis dysfunction to describe the pain, but others consider that such dysfunction is more often a secondary problem coexisting with lumbar or sacroiliac pain.

    A systematic review of 28 studies that used the two terms pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain and pregnancy related low back pain found that prevalence ranged from 3.9% to 89.9% (mean 45.3%).1 This wide range illustrates the problems of definition, identification, and classification. The authors found that estimates of prevalence depended on the inclusion or exclusion of patients with coexisting pain higher in the back and the definition(s) of musculoskeletal …

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