Content » Vol 47, Issue 3

Original report

Effect of a regular exercise programme on pelvic girdle and low back pain in previously inactive pregnant women: A randomized controlled trial

Lene A. H. Haakstad , Kari Bø
Dep. Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, 0880 Oslo, Norway. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1906


Objective: To determine whether participation in a group fitness class for pregnant women can prevent and treat pelvic girdle pain and low back pain.
Design: An observer-blinded randomized controlled trial.
Participants: A total of 105 sedentary, nulliparous pregnant women, mean age 30. 7 years (standard deviation (SD) 4. 0), mean pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) 23. 8 (SD 4. 3), were assigned to either control or exercise groups at mean gestation week 17. 7 (SD 4. 2).
Methods: The exercise intervention followed the guidelines of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and included a 60 min general fitness class, with 40 min of endurance training and 20 min of strength training including stretching, performed at least twice per week for a minimum of 12 weeks. Outcome measures were number of women reporting pelvic girdle pain and low back pain after the intervention (mean pregnancy week 36. 6 (SD 0. 9)) and postpartum (mean 7. 7 (SD 1. 7)).
Results: There were no statistically significant differences between the exercisers and controls in numbers reporting the 2 conditions after the intervention (pelvic girdle pain: odds ratio (OR) = 1. 34, CI = 0. 56–3. 20 or low back pain: OR = 1. 10, CI = 0. 47–2. 60) or postpartum (pelvic girdle pain: OR = 0. 38, CI = 0. 13–1. 10 or low back pain: OR = 1. 45, CI = 0. 54–3. 94). A comparison of the women who had attended at least 80% of the weekly exercise classes with the control participants did not change the results.
Conclusion: Participation in regular group fitness classes during pregnancy did not alter the proportion of women reporting pelvic girdle pain or low back pain during pregnancy or after childbirth.

Lay Abstract


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