Does regular exercise during pregnancy influence lumbopelvic pain? A randomized controlled trial

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2012 May;91(5):552-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0412.2012.01382.x. Epub 2012 Mar 29.


Objective: To study lumbopelvic pain in women randomized to a regular exercise program during pregnancy in comparison to women receiving standard antenatal care.

Design: A two-armed, two-center, randomized controlled trial. Setting. St Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital and Stavanger University Hospital.

Population: A total of 855 pregnant women were randomized to intervention or control groups.

Methods: The intervention was a 12 week exercise program, including aerobic and strengthening exercises, conducted between 20 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. One weekly group session was led by physiotherapists, and home exercises were encouraged twice a week. The control group received standard antenatal care.

Main outcome measures: Self-reports of lumbopelvic pain and sick leave due to lumbopelvic pain. The data were analysed according to the "intention-to-treat" principle.

Results: There were no significant differences between groups of women reporting lumbopelvic pain at 36 weeks (74 vs. 75%, p=0.76). The proportion of women on sick leave due to lumbopelvic pain was lower in the intervention group (22% vs 31%, p=0.01).

Conclusions: Exercise during pregnancy does not influence the prevalence of lumbopelvic pain, but women offered a regular exercise course seem to handle the disorder better.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pelvic Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome