“We are not there yet”: perceptions, beliefs and experiences of healthcare professionals caring for women with pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain in Australia

Dragana Ceprnja, Lucy Chipchase, Pranee Liamputtong, Amitabh Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PPGP) is a common condition worldwide. Women report being unprepared about PPGP, and state they receive little recognition and support from healthcare professionals. Situated within the Common-Sense Model and Convergent Care Theory, this study sought to gain a conceptual understanding of the perceptions, beliefs and experiences of healthcare professionals who provide routine care for women with PPGP in Australia. 

Methods: A qualitative research design, using individual, semi-structured interviews with purposive sampling of healthcare professionals (N=27) consisting of doctors (N=9), midwives (N=9) and physiotherapists (N=9). Most participants were female (22/27) with a range of professional experience. An interview guide consisting of open-ended questions was used with a flexible and responsive approach. Thematic analysis was performed where interview data were transcribed, coded, grouped into meaningful categories and then constructed into broad themes. 

Results: Four themes were identified: 1. Identity and impact of PPGP; 2. What works well?; 3. What gets in the way?; and 4. Quality care: What is needed? Healthcare professionals recognised PPGP as a common and disabling condition, which created a large impact on a woman’s life during pregnancy. Stepped-level care, including education and physiotherapy intervention, was seen to be helpful and led to a positive prognosis. Barriers at patient, clinician and organisation levels were identified and led to consequences for women with PPGP not receiving the care they need. 

Conclusion: This study elucidates important implications for health care delivery. Acknowledging that PPGP is a common condition causing difficulty for many women, healthcare professionals identified strong teamwork and greater clinical experience as important factors in being able to deliver appropriate healthcare. Whilst healthcare professionals reported being committed to caring for women during pregnancy, busy workloads, attitudes towards curability, and a lack of formal education were identified as barriers to care. The findings suggest timely access, clear referral pathways and an integrated approach are required for best care practice for women with PPGP. A greater emphasis on the need for multidisciplinary models of care during pregnancy is evident.

Original languageEnglish
Article number682
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2023


  • Healthcare
  • Interviews
  • Medical
  • Midwifery
  • Pelvic girdle pain
  • Physiotherapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative


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