Specific exercises to treat pregnancy-related low back pain in a South African population

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2011 Jun;113(3):187-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2010.10.030. Epub 2011 Apr 1.


Objective: To investigate the effect of an exercise program, including specific stabilizing exercises, on pain intensity and functional ability in women with pregnancy-related low back pain.

Methods: Fifty women between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy were recruited at Tygerberg and Paarl Hospitals, Western Cape, South Africa. Twenty-six women were randomized to a 10-week exercise program and 24 were randomized as controls.

Results: Overall, the most frequent type of back pain experienced was lumbar pain (36 [72.0%]). Pain intensity (P=0.76) and functional ability (P=0.29) were comparable between the groups on study entry. In the study group, there was a significant improvement in pain intensity (P<0.01) and an improvement in functional ability (P=0.06) at the end of the study. In the control group, there were no significant changes in pain intensity (P=0.89) or functional ability (P=0.70) at the end of the study.

Conclusion: A specific exercise program decreased back pain intensity and increased functional ability during pregnancy in South African women with lumbar and pelvic girdle pain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pelvic Pain / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • South Africa
  • Treatment Outcome