Prevalence and characterization of musculoskeletal disorders amongst women attending antenatal clinics at selected health facilities in Nairobi Kenya

  • D.O. Agutu
  • J.M. Matheri
  • N. Tawa
  • E. Opondo


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and to characterize Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) amongst women attending antenatal clinics (ANC) at selected health facilities in Nairobi, Kenya.

Design: A cross-sectional descriptive study with multi-stage random sampling

Setting: Antenatal clinics.

Main outcome measures: Nordic Musculoskeletal questionnaire (NMQ) was used to screen musculoskeletal discomfort.

Subjects: 287 pregnant women

Method: Data concerning socio-demographic characteristics were obtained using a NMQ. It was then analyzed using the statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) version 25.0 for descriptive and inferential statistics.

Results: A prevalence rate of 78.4 % (n=225) MSDs was recorded. Majority of women 79.1% (n= 178), reported lower quadrant disorders with only 20% (n=45) reporting both upper and lower quadrants disorders. The most prevalent MSDs were lower back pain (LBP) (54%; n=155), hips/thigh/buttocks pains (49.5%; n=142) and ankles/feet pains (41.5%; n= 119). Wrists and hands (11.85%, n= 34) MSDs were common in the upper quadrant. Over a half of the participants (55.1%, n=124) reported MSDs in third trimester (24-36 weeks), while 27.6% (n=62) and 17.3 % (n=39) in the second (12-24 weeks) and first (1-12 weeks) respectively. There was a  statistically significant association between having upper back (p= 0.049), LBP (p< 0.001) and hip/thighs/buttocks (p< 0.001) MSDs and the gestation stages.

Conclusion: Over 3 out of 4 women attending ANC have MSDs. Advancement in gestation weeks characterized increase in prevalence of MSDs. The study highlights the importance of developing ANC programs that would enable women cope with pregnancy-related MSDs changes.


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eISSN: 0012-835X