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Pregnancy related back pain, is it related to aerobic fitness?: A longitudinal cohort study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine.
2012 (English)In: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, ISSN 1471-2393, Vol. 12, 30- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Low back pain with onset during pregnancy is common and approximately one out of three women have disabling pain. The pathogenesis of the pain condition is uncertain and there is no information on the role of physical fitness. Whether poorer physical conditioning is a cause or effect of back pain is also disputed and information from prospective studies needed. Methods: A cohort of pregnant women, recruited from maternal health care centers in central Sweden, were examined regarding estimated peak oxygen uptake by cycle ergometer test in early pregnancy, reported physical activity prior to pregnancy, basic characteristics, back pain during pregnancy and back pain postpartum. Results: Back pain during the current pregnancy was reported by nearly 80% of the women. At the postpartum appointment this prevalence was 40%. No association was displayed between estimated peak oxygen uptake and incidence of back pain during and after pregnancy, adjusted for physical activity, back pain before present pregnancy, previous deliveries, age and weight. A significant inverse association was found between estimated peak oxygen uptake and back pain intensity during pregnancy and a direct association post partum, in a fully adjusted multiple linear regression analysis. Conclusions: Estimated peak oxygen uptake and reported physical activity in early pregnancy displayed no influence on the onset of subsequent back pain during or after pregnancy, where the time sequence support the hypothesis that poorer physical deconditioning is not a cause but a consequence of the back pain condition. The mechanism for the attenuating effect of increased oxygen uptake on back pain intensity is uncertain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 12, 30- p.
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-175632DOI: 10.1186/1471-2393-12-30ISI: 000304309400001OAI: diva2:532713
Available from: 2012-06-12 Created: 2012-06-11 Last updated: 2014-08-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Physical Fitness and Pregnancy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Physical Fitness and Pregnancy
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Objectives To assess physical fitness in pregnancy and to evaluate its effect on perceived health, back pain, blood pressure and duration of gestation. Also, to evaluate the effect of serum relaxin levels on blood pressure and duration of gestation.

Material and methods A prospective cohort of 520 pregnant women were examined in early pregnancy and five months postpartum with regard to socio-demographic characteristics and estimated peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2 peak, est.). Serum concentrations of relaxin were carried out in early pregnancy. Physical exercise, possible back pain and blood pressure were measured repeatedly throughout pregnancy.

Results Absolute V̇O2 peak, est. in early pregnancy was positively correlated to perceived health, which was lower during than after pregnancy. The average absolute V̇O2 peak, est. in early pregnancy of 2.4 l/minute was 0.02 l/minute less than the V̇O2 peak, est. postpartum, while regular physical exercise decreased throughout pregnancy. Absolute V̇O2 peak, est. in early pregnancy was not associated to the incidence of any low back pain location in pregnancy or postpartum, but inversely to intensity of back pain and diastolic blood pressure and positively with duration of gestation. Elevated serum relaxin levels were associated with decreased diastolic blood pressure and higher duration of gestation among women with miscarriage.

Conclusions Perceived health, diastolic blood pressure and duration of gestation were positively affected by physical fitness while no effect was shown on the incidence of back pain. The effect of physical fitness on duration of gestation and diastolic blood pressure might have clinical implications as well as the increased serum relaxin levels on miscarriages.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. 61 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 913
Physical fitness, oxygen uptake, pregnancy, back pain, blood pressure, duration of gestation, relaxin, cycle ergometer test, physical exercise, perceived health
National Category
Family Medicine
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-203630 (URN)978-91-554-8699-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-09-06, Rudbecksalen, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 20, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2013-08-15 Created: 2013-07-16 Last updated: 2014-01-07Bibliographically approved

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Thorell, EvaKristiansson, Per
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