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Musculoskeletal changes and pain during pregnancy and postpartum

INTRODUCTION

Pregnancy is a time of many physical and physiological changes. The gravida must nurture and host the fetus, but also adapt to a new body habitus and alterations in the hormonal milieu. Not surprisingly, these changes impact the musculoskeletal system, which can develop a variety of problems, such as back pain, separation of the pelvic bones, transient osteoporosis, and tendonitis.

Pain related to the musculoskeletal system in pregnant women will be reviewed here. Neurological disorders, myopathies, and inflammatory muscle diseases are discussed separately. (See "Neurologic disorders complicating pregnancy".)

NORMAL PREGNANCY CHANGES

During pregnancy, women gain 25 to 35 pounds, on average, and undergo multiple hormonal changes and biomechanical alterations that strain the axial skeleton and pelvis. (See "Maternal endocrine and metabolic adaptation to pregnancy".)

Musculoskeletal consequences that ensue as a result of weight gain and hormonal changes include:

Force across some joints is increased up to two-fold [1].

                               

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Literature review current through: Oct 2014. | This topic last updated: Oct 1, 2014.
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