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Experiences of Australian pregnant women seeking chiropractic care for low back and pelvic girdle pain: a qualitative exploration

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posted on 2022-10-11, 00:32 authored by Maria Bernard-Giglio

Introduction: Pregnancy-related low back and/or pelvic girdle pain is common, with more than two-thirds of Australian pregnant women experiencing low back pain, and almost half experiencing pelvic girdle pain. With 20% of Australian pregnant women visiting a chiropractor for this condition, little is known about the experience of pregnant women who seek chiropractic care for treatment of low back and/or pelvic girdle pain. 

Aim: To explore and describe the experiences of Australian pregnant women who seek chiropractic care for their pregnancy-related low back and/or pelvic girdle pain. 

Methods: A qualitative case study approach with purposive sampling was used. A constructivist and interpretivist stance provided understanding and meaning to the pregnant women’s lived experiences. Unstructured interviews, using an audio-visual recording on Zoom, were performed, and supplemented by a respondent’s characteristic survey and the pelvic girdle questionnaire. A grounded theory approach was used in coding and data analysis, until thematic saturation was observed. A thematic analysis, based on a framework of transcribed interviews, memos, survey findings with triangulation and respondent validation was undertaken. Macquarie University ethics approval was obtained for this study (#: 52020621817665). 

Results: From 27 chiropractic practices, 16 potential participants contacted the research student. After eligibility screening, nine interviews were undertaken. The thematic analysis identified four key themes: care driver, care barrier, chiropractic treatment and response to care. 

Conclusion: Four insightful key themes were identified from pregnant women who sought chiropractic care for their pregnancy-related low back and pelvic girdle pain. The themes support an overarching substantive-level theory that chiropractic care for pregnant woman experiencing low back pain and pelvic girdle pain improves their pain, function, and pregnancy-related biopsychosocial concerns. A second substantive-level theory addressed the effect of chiropractic care on birthing outcomes. Due to the qualitative nature, findings have only “naturalistic” generalisability and general transferability; however, the findings may inform antenatal providers and the chiropractic profession about pregnant women’s experience with chiropractic care and direct future research. 


Table of Contents

1. Chapter one: thesis introduction and literature review -- 2. Chapter two: methods and research design -- 3. Chapter three: data analysis and findings -- 4. Chapter four: discussion -- 5. Chapter five: conclusion -- 6. References -- 7. Appendices


A thesis submitted to Macquarie University for the degree of Master of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences, Department of Chiropractic, 2021

Department, Centre or School

Department of Chiropractic

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Katie de Luca


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