Caesarean section increases the risk of persistent pelvic girdle pain after delivery compared with vaginal delivery, according to a new study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Caesarean section rates are increasing worldwide, and this trend has partly been explained by women's requests for planned caesarean section without a medical reason. Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain has been associated with increased preference for caesarean section and with increased planned caesarean section rates.
"Some women with severe pelvic girdle pain might fear that a vaginal delivery will be too difficult or painful, or will worsen the condition after delivery - even though scientific evidence is lacking", says Elisabeth K. Bjelland, who is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute's Division of Mental Health and lead author of the study.
Knowledge about how caesarean section affects prognosis of pelvic girdle pain is therefore needed. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between mode of delivery and the persistence of pelvic girdle pain six months after delivery.
In this follow-up study, 79.9% of women had unassisted vaginal deliveries, 6.7% had instrumental vaginal deliveries (by vacuum or forceps), 7.2% had emergency caesarean sections and 6.2% had planned caesarean sections.
Doubles the risk of pain after delivery
After taking a number of other factors into account, the results showed that: