Journal Article

How does pelvic girdle pain impact on a woman's experience of her pregnancy and the puerperium?


Background. Pelvic girdle pain is a prevalent condition during pregnancy. The associated pain can be constant and extremely distressing for women; however, the pathogenesis is still unclear. It is important to gain insight into women’s experiences of pelvic girdle pain in order to improve these with a view to impacting positively on their physical symptoms, while also improving overall wellbeing and mental health throughout pregnancy and the puerperium. Aims and Objectives. To use published literature to gain an insight into how pelvic girdle pain can impact on a woman’s experience of pregnancy and the puerperium, to provide meaningful, evidence-based, recommendations for midwifery practice. Method. A systematic literature review of qualitative research was undertaken. Database searches using Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, British Nursing Index, PsycINFO, and PubMed identified seven studies published between 2005 and 2014 in Sweden and England. Each paper was quality appraised in order to inform assessment of the credibility of findings. Following Noblit and Hare’s (1988) seven-step process for metaethnography, findings from each paper were synthesised into key themes which were then developed into a new conceptual model. Results. A conceptual model, consisting of five key themes, was identified. The central theme is ‘loss of identity and control’, the themes leading on from this are: ‘adapting to pain’, ‘inadequacy and independence’, ‘expectations and perceptions of others’, and ‘psychological strain’. The model highlights the link between mental wellbeing and perceived intensity of pain. Conclusions. Pelvic girdle pain has a debilitating impact on the lives of pregnant women and further research is necessary to identify effective treatment methods.

Attached files


Varley, Marissa
Hunter, Louise

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery\Department of Midwifery, Community and Public Health


Year of publication: 2019
Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-06-12

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


  • Owner: Joseph Ripp
  • Collection: Outputs
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live