Self efficacy associated with regression from pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain and low back pain following pregnancy

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2023 Feb 21;23(1):122. doi: 10.1186/s12884-023-05393-z.


Background: Self-efficacy, one's ability to deal with pain, disability, and other symptoms through self-management techniques, positively affect the quality of life in patients with chronic diseases. Pregnancy-related back pain is a common musculoskeletal disorder pre- and postnatally. Hence, the study aimed to determine whether self-efficacy is associated with the development of back pain during pregnancy.

Methods: Between February 2020 and February 2021, a prospective case-control study was performed. Women with back pain were included. The self efficacy was assessed by the Chinese version of the General Self-efficacy Scale (GSES). Pregnancy-related back pain was measured using a self-reported scale. No regression from pregnancy-related back pain is defined as a recurrent or persistent pain score ≥ 3 over a week around 6 months postpartum. Women experiencing back pain during pregnancy are classified according to whether having a regression. This problem can be divided into pregnancy-related low back pain (LBP) and posterior girdle pain (PGP). The differences in variables were compared between groups.

Results: A total of 112 subjects have completed the study finally. These patients were followed up with an average of 7.2 months after childbirth ranging from six to 8 months. 31 subjects (27.7%) of the included women did not report regression 6 months postpartum. The mean self efficacy was 25.2 (SD:10.6). Patients with no regression tended to be older (LBP:25.9 ± 7.2 vs.31.8 ± 7.9, P = 0.023; PGP: 27.2 ± 7.9 vs. 35.9 ± 11.6, P < 0.001*), have a lower self efficacy (LBP:24.2 ± 6.6 vs.17.7 ± 7.1, P = 0.007; PGP: 27.6 ± 6.8 vs. 22.5 ± 7.0, P = 0.010), and need high daily physical demand in their vocations (LBP:17.4% vs. 60.0%, P = 0.019; PGP: 10.3% vs. 43.8%, P = 0.006) when compared to those with regression. Multivariate logistic analysis shows that risk factors for no regression from pregnancy-related back pain included LBP (OR = 2.36, 95%CI = 1.67-5.52, P < 0.001), pain ratings of the onset of back pain during pregnancy≥3(OR = 2.23, 95%CI = 1.56-6.24, P = 0.004), low self efficacy (OR = 2.19, 95%CI = 1.47-6.01, P < 0.001), and high daily physical demand in their vocations (OR = 2.01, 95%CI = 1.25-6.87, P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Low self efficacy makes the women experience about two-fold risk to experience no regression from pregnancy-related back pain. Evaluation for self efficacy is simple enough to be used to improve perinatal health.

Keywords: Pregnancy-related low back pain; Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain; Regression; Self efficacy.

MeSH terms

  • Back Pain / complications
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / diagnosis
  • Pelvic Girdle Pain* / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / etiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Efficacy