Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective non-randomised trials were eligible for inclusion. RCTs, quasi-randomised and non-randomised trials were included.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of physical therapies were eligible for inclusion. The interventions assessed in the included studies were exercise, individualised physical therapy, acupuncture, back care advice and massage. The duration of the interventions varied between 2 and 24 sessions. The timing of interventions during pregnancy varied between week 11 and 36.
Participants included in the review
Studies in women who were pregnant or within 1 year postpartum, with or without low back or pelvic pain, were eligible for inclusion. Studies that included women with obstetric complications, inflammatory joint diseases, rheumatoid arthritis fractures, or various severe pathologies related to the spine were excluded. All but one of the included studies were studies of women who were still pregnant. The presence of pain and pain location varied.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies that measured pain, functional status, sick leave, or more general outcomes such as generic health status, wellbeing, overall improvement or patient satisfaction, were eligible for inclusion. The outcomes assessed in the included studies were pain, backache, global improvement, mobility, functional status, functional limitations and sick leave. The instruments used to measure the outcomes varied between the studies, as did the timing of measurements during pregnancy and postpartum.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
Two reviewers independently selected the studies for inclusion.