Risk factors for pelvic girdle pain postpartum and pregnancy related low back pain postpartum; a systematic review and meta-analysis

Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2020 Aug:48:102154. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2020.102154. Epub 2020 May 5.


Background: Although pelvic girdle pain postpartum and pregnancy related low back pain postpartum (combined and named PGPP in this study) have a natural favourable course, there is a subgroup of women who have persistent complaints. The objective of this study was to identify personal-, (pre)pregnancy-, obstetric-, and child related risk factors on PGPP by means of a systematic literature review and meta-analysis.

Methods: Literature searches of PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL and Cochrane up to October 2018 were conducted. Prospective cohort studies in English or Dutch describing three or more risk factors for PGPP were included. We assessed articles for inclusion and risk of bias. Studies with high risk of bias were excluded from data extraction. Data was extracted and checked for accuracy confirming to the CHARMS-checklist. Homogeneous variables were pooled.

Results: Twelve full text studies were assessed. Seven studies were excluded due to high risk of bias. Data was extracted from five studies. Multivariate analysis was not possible due to heterogeneity in included risk factors as well as outcome measures on risk factor per study. Pooled univariate significant risk factors on PGPP were: a history of low back pain, pre-pregnancy body mass index >25, pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy, depression in pregnancy, and a heavy workload in pregnancy. No significant obstetric and child related risk factors were reported.

Conclusions: Risk factors on PGPP have been identified. Since multivariate analysis was not possible the outcome should be treated with care, because interaction between risk factors could not be analysed.

Keywords: Low back pain; Pelvic girdle pain; Postpartum period; Pregnancy; Risk factors.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / therapy
  • Pelvic Girdle Pain*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors