Pre-pregnancy exercise may not prevent back pain

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Pre-pregnancy physical activity may not influence whether or not a woman will have persistent low back or pelvic pain after pregnancy, suggest researchers from Sweden.

However, about half of the women with persistent lower back or pelvic pain 6 months after delivery reported similar levels of leisure-time physical activity as did women without post-pregnancy back pain, reports author Dr. Ingrid M. Mogren of Umea University.

Mogren collected data at 6 months postpartum from 464 women who had reported recurrent or continuous lumbar spine or pelvis pain for more than 1 week during pregnancy.

Overall, 82 percent of these women said they participated in some form of physical activity before pregnancy, according to the report in BMC Public Health, a journal published by BioMed Central.

As noted, Mogren found no significant differences among these women in current leisure-time physical activity. About 43, 53, and 45 percent with recurrent, continuous, and no pain, respectively, reported current physical activity.

On average, the women began post-partum physical activity 2.6 months after childbirth and reported being physically active 3.4 times per week.

Obesity did appear to affect current physical activity. Mogren found a higher proportion of nonobese women (body mass index of less than 30) versus obese women (30 or greater) reported current physical activity.

Mogren’s previous research suggested the women with a history of regular leisure-time physical activity before pregnancy have a lower risk of low back or pelvic pain after pregnancy.

However, the current data do not support physical activity as protective against post-pregnancy low back and pelvic pain among women who develop such pain during pregnancy.

Mogren calls for continued investigation of determinants and outcomes of physical activity before, during, and after pregnancy.

SOURCE: BMC Public Health, December 22, 2008.

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