Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain and its relationship with relaxin levels during pregnancy: A systematic review

School of Physical Education, University of Otago, 56 Union Street, Dunedin, 9016, New Zealand, .
European Spine Journal (Impact Factor: 2.07). 02/2012; 21(9):1769-76. DOI: 10.1007/s00586-012-2162-x
Source: PubMed


The present systematic review assessed the level of evidence for the association between relaxin levels and pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PPGP) during pregnancy.
PRISMA guidelines were followed to conduct this systematic review. Electronic search was carried out using six different databases. Observational cohorts, cross-sectional or case-control studies focused on the association between relaxin levels and PPGP during pregnancy were included. Studies selection was conducted by two reviewers who screened firstly for titles, then for abstracts and finally for full articles. Risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale and the quality of evidence by the guidelines proposed by the Cochrane back review group.
731 references were identified. Six articles met the inclusion criteria and were considered for this systematic review. The main reason for the studies exclusion was PPGP related to gynaecological reasons. Five studies were case-control and one study was a prospective cohort. Four studies were ranked as high while two were ranked as low quality. Among the high quality studies, three found no association between PPGP and relaxin levels.
Based on these findings, the level of evidence for the association between PPGP and relaxin levels was found to be low. PPGP assessment and controlling for risk factors were found to increase bias leaving uncertainty in interpretation of these findings and a need for further research.

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    • "The level of evidence is low with regard to the possible role of higher relaxin levels and its association with more pelvic joint laxity (Björklund et al., 2000; Vleeming et al., 2008; Katonis et al., 2011; Aldabe et al., 2012b; Vøllestad et al., 2012). Moreover, there is evidence that hormonal changes due to pregnancy are compensated by an adequate sacroiliac force closure (Vleeming et al., 2008; Aldabe et al., 2012a). "
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    ABSTRACT: Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a common condition during or after pregnancy with pain and disability as most important symptoms. These symptoms have a wide range of clinical presentation. Most doctors perceive pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain (PPGP) as 'physiologic' or 'expected during pregnancy', where no treatment is needed. As such women with PPGP mostly experience little recognition. However, many scientific literature describes PPGP as being severe with considerable levels of pain and disability and socio-economic consequences in about 20% of the cases. We aimed to (1) inform the gynecologist/obstetrician about the etiology, diagnosis, risk factors, and treatment options of PPGP and (2) to make a proposition for an adequate clinical care path. A systematic search of electronic databases and a check of reference lists for recent researches about the diagnosis, etiology, risk factors and treatment of PPGP. Adequate treatment is based on classification in subgroups according to the different etiologic factors. The various diagnostic tests can help to make a differentiation in the several pelvic girdle pain syndromes and possibly reveal the underlying biomechanical problem. This classification can guide appropriate multidimensional and multidisciplinary management. A proposal for a clinical care path starts with recognition of gynecologist and midwife for this disorder. Both care takers can make a preliminary diagnosis of PPGP and should refer to a physiatrist, who can make a definite diagnosis. Together with a physiotherapist, the latter can determine an individual tailored exercise program based on the influencing bio-psycho-social factors.
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