Fear-avoidance beliefs: a predictor for postpartum lumbopelvic pain

Review written by Dr Sandy Hilton info

Key Points

  1. Roughly half of pregnant women will experience lumbopelvic pain during pregnancy. Some will continue to have pain for years following delivery.
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Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) and low back pain (LBP) are present in up to half of all pregnant women (1). Most of this pain is transient and resolves after delivery, but some will still have pain 2-11 years postpartum (2).

The authors of this paper aimed to identify the variables between women with and without lumbopelvic pain (LP) in order to help predict who will have persistent LP pain postpartum. They identified risk factors of level of pain, physical ability, health-related quality of life, catastrophizing, and fear avoidance. The hypothesis was that women who score high in these risk factors during weeks 34-37 of gestation were more likely to have postpartum lumbopelvic pain (3).

Pelvic girdle pain and low back pain are present in up to half of all pregnant women.
This study suggests that women with higher levels of fear-avoidance behaviors during pregnancy are more likely to experience lumbopelvic pain postpartum.


Lumbopelvic pain (LP) was defined for this study as “self-reported pain in the region of the lower back and/or anterior and/or posterior region of the pelvis” (4). The participants of this study were from a prospective cohort study that looked

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