Original Research

Back pain in pregnant women attending an antenatal clinic in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Carmen Hawker, Laura O'Connor, Poovendhree Reddy, Firoza Haffejee, Maureen N. Sibiya, Dorinda Borg, Shanaz Ghuman, Thembilihle S. P. Ngxongo, Nalini Govender
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 26 | a1507 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v26i0.1507 | © 2021 Carmen Hawker, Laura O’Connor, Poovendhree Reddy, Firoza Haffejee, Maureen N. Sibiya, Dorinda Borg, Shanaz Ghuman, Thembilihle S.P. Ngxongo, Nalini Govender | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 June 2020 | Published: 30 July 2021

About the author(s)

Carmen Hawker, Department of Chiropractic, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Laura O'Connor, Department of Chiropractic, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Poovendhree Reddy, Department of Community Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Firoza Haffejee, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Maureen N. Sibiya, DVC Teaching and Learning, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Dorinda Borg, Department of Somatology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Shanaz Ghuman, Department of Community Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Thembilihle S. P. Ngxongo, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa
Nalini Govender, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Back pain is not uncommon in pregnant women, but it is often under-reported and can be disabling. International studies report a high prevalence of back pain, especially in the last trimester. Little is known about the prevalence of back pain in South African pregnant women.

Aim: To determine the prevalence and risk factors of back pain in a cohort of pregnant women

Setting: Public primary healthcare clinics and the eThekwini municipality of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa

Methods: A descriptive cohort design was used to survey pregnant women (n = 303) over the course of their pregnancy. Data were collected at the first antenatal visit and again in the third trimester. Participants gave consent and ethical clearance was obtained from an institutional research ethics committee, from the eThekwini Health District and KZN Provincial Department of Health.

Results: The respondents were young Black African women (mean age of 25.8 (± 6.0), who were mostly unemployed (70.7%), and resided in a resource poor setting. Back pain prevalence at the first antenatal visit and the third trimester was 12.4% (n = 35) and 10.9% (n = 5), respectively. This condition was associated with carrying water and residing in a hostel or an employee’s property. Being single was associated with less risk for developing back pain.

Conclusion: The prevalence of back pain was low in this cohort of women, yet it resulted in a negative impact on the women’s ability to cope with daily life.

Contribution: This is one of the first studies to describe back pain in a South African pregnant population.


Keywords

pregnancy; back pain; prevalence; South Africa; risk factors

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