Treatments for pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain: a systematic review of physiotherapy modalities

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2015 Nov;94(11):1156-67. doi: 10.1111/aogs.12681. Epub 2015 Jun 16.


Objective: To explore the effect of physiotherapeutic interventions on pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain.

Material and methods: Data sources: MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PEDro, CINAHL, AMED, and SCOPUS databases were searched up to December 2014 for studies written in English, French, German or Scandinavian languages that evaluated physiotherapeutic modalities for preventing and treating pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain.

Results: For lumbopelvic pain during pregnancy, the evidence was strong for positive effects of acupuncture and pelvic belts. The evidence was low for exercise in general and for specific stabilizing exercises. The evidence was very limited for efficacy of water gymnastics, progressive muscle relaxation, a specific pelvic tilt exercise, osteopathic manual therapy, craniosacral therapy, electrotherapy and yoga. For postpartum lumbopelvic pain, the evidence was very limited for clinic-based treatment concepts, including specific stabilizing exercises, and for self-management interventions for women with severe disabilities. No specific adverse events were reported for any intervention. No meta-analysis could be performed because of study heterogeneity.

Conclusions: The levels of evidence were strong for a positive effect of acupuncture and pelvic belts, but weak for an effect of specific exercises. Caution should prevail in choosing other interventions for pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain.

Keywords: Pelvic girdle pain; low back pain; physiotherapy; post-partum; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / etiology
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pelvic Pain / etiology
  • Pelvic Pain / therapy*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Puerperal Disorders / therapy
  • Self Care