To estimate the severity of the low back pain (LBP) during pregnancy, including prevalence, risk factors, impact on daily living, and health provider management.
An anonymous survey consisting of 36 questions was distributed to pregnant women participating in various prenatal care clinics and educational classes in New Haven County, Connecticut. A total of 950 surveys was returned from May 2002 through October 2003. At each site, a researcher was available each week to answer questions and gather surveys.
Six hundred forty-five (68.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 65–72%) respondents reported experiencing LBP during their current pregnancy. The prevalence was not affected by gestational age (P = .56). Low back pain during the current pregnancy was predicted by age (younger women were more likely to develop it; P = .004), history of LBP without pregnancy (P = .002), during menstruation (P = .01), and during a previous pregnancy (P = .002). The majority of respondents reported that LBP during pregnancy caused sleep disturbances (58%; 95% CI 54–62%) and impaired daily living (57%; 95% CI 53–62%). Average pain was moderate in severity. Nearly 30% of respondents stopped performing at least one daily activity because of pain and reported that pain also impaired the performance of other routine tasks. Only 32% (95% CI 28–36%) of the respondents with LBP during pregnancy informed their prenatal care providers of this problem, and only 25% (95% CI 21–28%) of prenatal care providers recommended a treatment.
Low back pain during pregnancy is a common problem that causes hardship in this population. Further studies are indicated in the areas of prevention and treatment.
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