The Experiences of First-Time Mothers With Persistent Pelvic Girdle Pain After Childbirth: A Descriptive Qualitative Study


BACKGROUND- Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is common during pregnancy and negatively affects women's lives. When PGP persists after a birth, the way it impacts on women's lives may change, particularly for first-time mothers as they adjust to motherhood, yet the experiences of women with persistent PGP remain largely unexplored.


OBJECTIVES - The objective of this study was to explore primiparous women's experiences of persistent PGP and its impact on their lives postpartum, including caring for their infant and their parental role.


DESIGN - A descriptive qualitative study.


METHODS - Following institution ethical approval, 23 consenting primiparous women with PGP that had started during pregnancy and persisted for at least 3 months postpartum participated in individual interviews. These were recorded, transcribed, and analysed using thematic analysis.


RESULTS - Four themes emerged: (1) 'Putting up with it: coping with everyday life'; women put up with the pain but had to balance activities and were grateful for support from family and friends to face everyday challenges, (2) 'I don't feel back to normal'; feelings of physical limitations, frustration and a negative impact on their mood were described, (3) 'Unexpected'; persistent symptoms were unexpected for women due to a lack of information given about PGP, (4) 'What next?'; the future of their symptoms was met with great uncertainty and women expressed worry about having another baby.


CONCLUSION - For first-time mothers, having persistent PGP postpartum impacts their daily lives in many ways. These findings provide important information for healthcare providers, which will improve their understanding of these women's experiences, enhance rapport, and can be used to provide information and address concerns, to optimise maternity care during pregnancy and beyond.

© 2015 American Physical Therapy Association.

Phys Ther. 2015 Oct;95(10):1354-64. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20150088. Epub 2015 Apr 30.