Pregnancy, low back pain and sick leave. Intervention and prevalence.

​- a research project by Mette Grønbæk Backhausen,  midwife, Cand. Scient. San.  and PhD student​​

​ ​In ​Danish


Low back pain occurs frequently during pregnancy. Studies on the topic have been conducted on three different continents, and depending on the method and definition used, the prevalence varies from 50 to 70% of all pregnant women, indicating a general problem. The prevalence of low back pain increases with gestational age and has been shown to be an important contributing factor to sick leave during pregnancy. Back pain also has a negative impact on the ability to perform daily chores. It is therefore important to focus on how to prevent or reduce low back pain in

Physical activity during pregnancy is believed to reduce the risk of many adverse pregnancy outcomes including low back pain. However, the majority of pregnant women reduce the level of physical activity during pregnancy, despite national and international recommendations advising pregnant women to be physically active at a moderate intensity level for at least 30 minutes per day. Non-weight-bearing physical activity, like swimming is recommended for women with back or pelvic pain. Our hypothesis is that physical activities in water, which gives the pregnant woman greater mobility, can reduce pain intensity of lower back pain.


Study 1) To investigate whether water exercise can prevent or reduce back pain and sick leave in healthy pregnant women in a randomized controlled trail.

Study 2) Estimate the prevalence of low back pain and sick leave in relation to socio-demographic characteristics and lifestyle factors in a Danish context. A cross sectional study

Future perspecti​​ves

Study 1) The study will lead to new knowledge about whether exercise during pregnancy can affect the pregnant woman back pain and sick leave positive.

Study 2) The survey will provide insight into the extent of lower back pain and sick leave in pregnant women, as well as low back pain and sick leave is related to specific socio-demographic characteristics and lifestyle factors. In case low back pain and sick leave are related to specific groups of pregnant women, this knowledge can be the basis for targeted action in prenatal care and for new research projects.

The project is supp​orted by

Tryg Foundation, The Augustinus Foundation, The Lundbeck Foundation, the Arthritis Society Research and Midwives Association's Research and Development and Rigshospitalet.​​

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