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Psychosocial and physical work environment, and risk of pelvic pain in pregnancy. A study within the Danish national birth cohort
  1. Mette Juhl1,
  2. Per Kragh Andersen2,
  3. Jørn Olsen3,
  4. Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen4
  1. 1National Institute of Public Health, Denmark
  2. 2Institute of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. 3Danish Epidemiology Science Centre at the Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Aarhus, Denmark and Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, UCLA, LA, USA
  4. 4National Institute of Public Health, Denmark, and Institute of Public Health, Department of Social Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to:
 MsM Juhl
 National Institute of Public Health, 5, Øster Farimagsgade, DK-1399 Copenhagen K, Denmark;


Objective: The sparse knowledge of the aetiology of pelvic pain in pregnancy makes evidence based prevention a limited option. The aim of this study was to examine the relation between pelvic pain in pregnancy and physical and psychosocial working conditions.

Methods: This study used self reported data on working conditions for 1219 cases and 1539 controls, sampled as a nested case-control study within the Danish national birth cohort. Cases and controls were selected on the basis of self reported pelvic pain intensity, pain localisation, and pain impact on daily living activities. Exposure data were collected prospectively; early in pregnancy and before the onset of pelvic pain. Main outcome measures were odds ratios for pelvic pain in pregnancy as a function of physical and psychosocial working conditions.

Results: Pregnant women with fixed evening work and with rotating shifts (without night shift) had odds ratios for pelvic pain in pregnancy of 1.76 (95% confidence intervals 1.04 to 2.96) and 1.65 (1.22 to 2.24), respectively, compared with women with day work. Physically strenuous work was associated with an almost 50% increased risk of pelvic pain in pregnancy (1.47; 1.17 to 1.84). In women who were under high psychosocial strain at work odds ratio was 1.39 (1.12 to 1.74) compared with women with low job strain.

Conclusion: Both physically and psychosocially demanding working conditions, measured by physically strenuous work, rotating shifts, and high job strain, are associated with an increased reporting of pelvic pain in pregnancy.

  • work environment
  • job strain
  • pelvic pain
  • pelvic girdle relaxation
  • birth cohort

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  • Funding: this specific study was supported by grants from The Health Insurance Foundation in Denmark. The Health Insurance Foundation supported the study financially and had no role in any other parts of the study.

  • Competing interests: none declared.

  • Ethics approval: the Danish national birth cohort and the case-control study on pelvic pain have been approved by the committee for biomedical research ethics in the municipalities of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg on behalf of all ethic committees in the country, and by the Danish Data Protection Agency.

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