Low back pain during labor and related factors

J Nurs Res. 2008 Sep;16(3):231-41. doi: 10.1097/01.jnr.0000387310.27117.6d.


A substantial proportion of women in labor suffer from low back pain, yet this issue has only been specifically evaluated in a few Western studies. The purpose of this research was to (1) describe the following characteristics of low back pain during labor: prevalence, anatomic region(s) affected, type, pattern, intensity trend, effective interventions, and exacerbating factors; (2) identify the factors relating to intrapartum low back pain in Taiwan women. A correlational design with repeated measures was used to conduct this investigation. Ninety-three low-risk women in labor were recruited from a medical center in central Taiwan. Low back pain was repeatedly measured during the latent phase (cervix dilated 2-4 cm), early active phase (cervix dilated 5-7 cm), and late active phase (cervix dilated 8-10 cm) of labor. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, repeated measurement ANOVA, and logistic regression. The results showed as many as 75.3% of the participants suffered episodes of low back pain during labor. The mean pain scores were 36.66-76.20 in the various stages of labor. Pain intensified as labor progressed. The location of the pain also changed with the progression of labor. The type of low back pain in 54.29% of women in labor was "muscle soreness and pain"; The pattern of pain in 45.71% women was continuous. Massage was chosen as the most effective intervention to alleviate low back pain by 65.3% of women. The women in labor who suffered from low back pain during pregnancy (OR = 3.23; p < .01) and had greater body weight when hospitalized (OR = 1.13; p = .02) were most likely to be in the low back pain group. In conclusion, our study demonstrates low back pain intensified with the progression of labor, suggesting early prevention is necessary, especially in the case of women who had low back pain during pregnancy and heavier body weight when hospitalized.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor Pain*
  • Low Back Pain*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pregnancy
  • Taiwan