12 Oct Exercise Before Pregnancy Reduces Pelvic Girdle Pain
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Katrine M. Owe PhD
Department of Psychosomatics and Health Behaviour
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Women’s Health
Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Owe: Pelvic girdle pain affects 20-45% of all pregnancies and may lead to functional disability, higher levels of depression, reduced quality of life and higher prevalence of sick leave during pregnancy.
Many women with pelvic girdle pain often have difficulties performing daily life activities such as walking, standing, sitting and turning over in bed.
The aetiology and pathogenesis of pelvic girdle pain are still unknown but some modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors have been identified.
Our results showed that women who exercised before they became pregnant with their first child, had the lowest risk of developing pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy. Even those women who reported low frequencies of exercise had a reduced risk of pelvic girdle pain compared with non-exercisers.
Exercising up to five times weekly before pregnancy was protective against pelvic girdle pain and no further benefits were reached with higher frequencies of exercise.
It seems that women who are running, jogging, playing ballgames/netball, doing high impact aerobics or orienteering before pregnancy, has the lowest risk of pelvic girdle pain.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Owe: According to our study, exercising once or twice a week before the first pregnancy is better than no exercise when it comes to reducing the risk of pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy.
Even though these results arise from an observational study, regular exercise is associated with many other positive health effects that will benefit women– in addition to the protective effect of pelvic girdle pain.
Special attention should therefore be given to women of childbearing age in general and especially to those who is planning to get pregnant, when it comes to achieving the recommended levels of exercise.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Owe: We need more studies on potential preventive effects of different types of exercise before and during pregnancy on the development of pelvic girdle pain. Future studies should also focus on estimating the optimal dosage of exercise (frequency, intensity and duration) that is needed to prevent pelvic girdle pain for women at high risk of developing pelvic girdle pain. We only included first-time mothers and future studies should also assess the association between exercise and pelvic girdle pain in multiparous women.
Katrine M. Owe PhD (2015). Exercising Before Pregnancy Reduces Postpartum Pain MedicalResearch.com