Background: Prevention of lumbopelvic pain in pregnancy has been sparsely studied. One aim of this study was to assess if a 12-week training program during pregnancy can prevent and/or treat lumbopelvic pain. A randomized controlled trial was conducted at Trondheim University Hospital and three outpatient physiotherapy clinics. Three hundred and one healthy nulliparous women were included at 20 weeks of pregnancy and randomly allocated to a training group (148) or a control group (153).
Methods: The outcome measures were self-reported symptoms of lumbopelvic pain (once per week or more), sick leave, and functional status. Pain drawing was used to document the painful area of the body. The intervention included daily pelvic floor muscle training at home, and weekly group training over 12 weeks including aerobic exercises, pelvic floor muscle and additional exercises, and information related to pregnancy.
Results: At 36 weeks of gestation women in the training group were significantly less likely to report lumbopelvic pain: 65/148 (44%) versus 86/153 (56%) (p=0.03). Three months after delivery the difference was 39/148 (26%) in the training group versus 56/153 (37%) in the control group (p=0.06). There was no difference in sick leave during pregnancy, but women in the training group had significantly (p=0.01) higher scores on functional status.
Conclusions: A 12-week specially designed training program during pregnancy was effective in preventing lumbopelvic pain in pregnancy.