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Midwifery. 2017 Jul;50:125-132. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2017.04.002. Epub 2017 Apr 8.

Clinical profile of persistent genito-pelvic postpartum pain.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Queen's University, 62 Arch Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6. Electronic address: 11jc83@queensu.ca.
2
Department of Psychology, Queen's University, 62 Arch Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE*: the primary aim was to describe the pain characteristics of persistent genito-pelvic postpartum pain (PPP) and compare these characteristics by mode of delivery. The secondary aim was to incorporate psychosocial variables into the conceptualization of PPP by exploring the relationship among postpartum depressive symptoms, fatigue, and PPP.

DESIGN:

cross-sectional study design.

SETTING:

online survey.

PARTICIPANTS:

106 women recruited from the community who gave birth within twelve months prior to completing the survey.

MEASUREMENTS AND FINDINGS:

questionnaire regarding sociodemographic information, pregnancy and childbirth variables, depressive symptoms (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale), and fatigue (Fatigue Symptom Checklist). Women who were ≥3 months postpartum and indicated they were still experiencing any genito-pelvic pain from childbirth were provided questions about their current pain experience. Twenty-seven (25.5%) women were between 3-12 months postpartum and currently experiencing PPP. The intensity of pain was mild, and had multiple locations and triggers. Compared to women whose acute pain resolved after childbirth, women with PPP were more likely to have had a Caesarean section (15.2% versus 33.3%). Other birth-related (i.e., epidural/spinal anesthesia use during vaginal birth) and psychosocial variables (income) also differentiated women with PPP from women whose gentio-pelvic pain resolved. Postpartum fatigue independently predicted PPP (Odds ratio = 4.7), while postpartum depressive symptoms did not.

KEY CONCLUSIONS:

PPP was quite prevalent in this sample, and while the intensity of pain was on average, mild, the pain was widespread in terms of location and triggers. Multiple biopsychosocial factors differentiated women with persistent postpartum pain from those women whose pain resolved.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

PPP is a common health concern for new mothers in the first year postpartum, and may be best addressed by health care professionals using a multidimensional approach, which focuses on the psychosocial aspects of pain.

KEYWORDS:

Caesarean section; Persistent pain; Postpartum

PMID:
28419979
DOI:
10.1016/j.midw.2017.04.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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