Purpose: Persistent pelvic girdle pain (PGP) after delivery is considered uncommon. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of persistent PGP after delivery in an unselected population, its influence on the women's daily life, and potential risk factors.
Methods: The study population was drawn from a previous retrospective study of pelvic pain (PP) during pregnancy. The women were followed until 3-6 months after delivery in a prospective cohort study. All women were contacted by telephone and those with persistent PP were invited to fill in questionnaires and undergo a clinical examination.
Results: 68 of 330 women reported persistent pain in the pelvic area 3-6 months after delivery. 47 underwent a clinical examination, after which 36 women were diagnosed with either PGP alone (n = 25), or PGP combined with low back pain (LBP) (n = 11). Affected women reported a poor subjective health status, but the pain did not have a major impact on their daily life activities. Women with 3 independent risk factors: age ≥30 years, a moderate or high Oswestry Disability Index in pregnancy, and combined PP and LBP during pregnancy, had a 27-fold increased risk for persistent PGP compared with women without these risk factors.
Conclusion: 16 % of women that reported PP during pregnancy were found to have persistent PGP 3-6 months after the delivery. Women with risk factors for persistent PGP should be identified while pregnant, and offered a follow-up examination 3 months after delivery.
Keywords: Low back pain; Pelvic girdle pain; Pelvic pain; Pregnancy; Risk factors.