Background: Back pain during late pregnancy is a frequent clinical problem. Very little is known about the impact of this symptom on the quality of life among pregnant women with back pain.
Objectives: To study the influence of back pain and physical ability on quality of life in late pregnancy.
Methods: One hundred and sixty women in the 34th-37th week of pregnancy and attending two different midwife receptions, were asked to fill out questionnaires including: general questions about background factors, the Disability Rating Index (DRI) to score the physical ability, and The Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) for assessing health-related quality of life. Two groups were defined, with and without back pain.
Results: One hundred and thirty-six (85%) out of 160 screened women returned the questionnaire for evaluation. The 69 (51%) women with back pain rated significantly (p < 0.05) higher on the DRI; on NHP part I, sub scales sleep, energy, pain, physical functioning and total score; and on NHP part II, aspects occupation, ability to perform jobs around the house, social life and hobbies compared with women without back pain.
Conclusions: Irrespective of back pain the pregnant women studied featured lower quality of life (QOL) compared with published data on healthy women. Among the women with back problems, who had the most impaired QOL, the factors affecting QOL were mostly related to physical ability.