Expertise and individually tailored interventions are expected by pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain who seek physical therapy: a qualitative study

Braz J Phys Ther. 2023 Mar-Apr;27(2):100494. doi: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2023.100494. Epub 2023 Mar 17.


Background: Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) in pregnancy may result in activity limitations and thus a negative impact on the individual woman's everyday life. Women's expectations when they seek physical therapy because of PGP are not yet known.

Objective: To explore pregnant women's lived experience of PGP and what needs and expectations they express prior to a physical therapy consultation.

Methods: A qualitative study using a descriptive phenomenological method. Interviews conducted with 15 pregnant women seeking physical therapy because of PGP, recruited through purposive sampling at one primary care rehabilitation clinic.

Results: PGP was described by four themes; An experience with larger impact on life than expected, A time for adjustments and acceptance, A feeling of insecurity and concern, A desire to move forward. PGP had a large impact on the pregnant women´s life. Thoughts of PGP as something to be endured was expressed, the women therefore accepted the situation. Finding strategies to manage everyday life was hard and when it failed, the women described despair and a need for help. They expected the physical therapist to be an expert who would see them as individuals and provide advice that could make their everyday life easier.

Conclusion: Our results reveal that pregnant women with PGP delay seeking physical therapy until their situation becomes unmanageable and they run out of strategies for self-care. The women express, in light of their individual experiences, needs and expectations for professional management and advice tailored to their individually unique situation.

Keywords: Consultation; Pelvic girdle pain; Phenomenological qualitative research; Physical therapy modalities; Pregnancy; Women's health.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Girdle Pain*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Pregnant Women
  • Qualitative Research