Psychological determinants of pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain: a prospective cohort study

Esther C Bakker*, Carola W van Nimwegen-Matzinger, Winneke Ekkel-van der Voorden, Marjan D Nijkamp, Trijntje Völlink

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    OBJECTIVE: To study whether pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain outcomes at 36 weeks of gestation can be predicted by psychological determinants earlier in pregnancy.

    DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

    SETTING: Nine midwifery practices in different regions of the Netherlands.

    POPULATION: A cohort of 223 low-risk pregnant women in the Netherlands was followed from week 12 of gestation until 36 weeks of gestation.

    METHODS: Both psychological determinants and lumbopelvic pain symptoms were investigated with a set of questionnaires at 12, 24 and 36 weeks of gestation. Psychological determinants were measured with the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90), the Pregnancy-related Anxiety Questionnaire (PRAQ), and the Utrecht Coping List (UCL). Lumbopelvic pain outcomes were measured with the Pregnancy Mobility Index (PMI) and the Overall Complaints Index (OCI).

    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Lumbopelvic pain symptoms and their impact at 36 weeks of gestation.

    RESULTS: There was a significant increase in scores on both the PMI and OCI across the three sampling occasions in pregnancy. Lumbopelvic pain outcomes showed significant associations with the psychological determinants perceived stress and recently perceived psychological and physical distress at all three times during pregnancy. Pregnancy-related anxiety was not a significant predictor of lumbopelvic pain outcomes, neither was coping.

    CONCLUSIONS: Lumbopelvic pain symptoms and their impact on daily activities at 36 weeks of gestation can be predicted by psychological determinants earlier in pregnancy; the combination of perceived stress and physical disability at 24 weeks of pregnancy seems to be the best predictor of disability in later pregnancy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)797-803
    Number of pages7
    JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
    Issue number7
    Early online date29 Mar 2013
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013



    • Adaptation, Psychological
    • Adult
    • Anxiety
    • Disability Evaluation
    • Female
    • Follow-Up Studies
    • Humans
    • Linear Models
    • Low Back Pain/psychology
    • Netherlands
    • Pelvic Girdle Pain/psychology
    • Pregnancy
    • Pregnancy Complications/psychology
    • Pregnancy Trimesters/psychology
    • Prospective Studies
    • Psychological Tests
    • Stress, Psychological
    • Surveys and Questionnaires
    • Lumbopelvic pain
    • pelvic girdle pain
    • psychological factors
    • risk factors
    • stress

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