Progressive changes in walking kinematics throughout pregnancy—A follow up study

W. Forczek, Y. Ivanenko, M. Curyło, B. Frączek, A. Masłoń, M. Salamaga, A. Suder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Progressive weight gain and changes in its distribution following pregnancy may be challenging for the gravidas’ ability to move in a stable way. Research question: How is gait kinematics changing throughout pregnancy and to what extend is it affected by physical activity level and energy balance? Methods: 30 women were enrolled. Three experimental sessions were arranged according to the same protocol in the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Walking kinematics at a self-selected speed was registered. The total physical activity (TPA) was assessed from the subjects’ questionnaires. Energy balance (‘positive’, ‘balanced’ or ‘negative’) was estimated as the difference between dietary energy intake and energy expenditure during 7 days. Results: No significant differences were found in the spatiotemporal variables between experimental sessions. However, the gait analysis revealed significant increments in the single support and base of support (BoS) measures. Generally, the sagittal plane mobility of the lower limb joints did not differ, however, the pelvic tilt increased in late pregnancy. The hip and pelvis angles were significantly different over the gait cycle throughout gestation. The ‘balanced’ energy was dominant in the first trimester although the relative number of participants with negative balance increased over pregnancy. Overall, gait parameters were independent of the energy balance. However, significant correlation was found between gait parameters, such as BoS, velocity, stride length, and TPA in the advanced pregnancy. Significance: The longitudinal assessment of walking kinematics demonstrates few changes adopted to accommodate for pregnancy. The enlargement of BoS is considered as a strategy to provide safety and stability. The increased pelvic tilt is likely to compensate for changes in the body mass distribution. The physical activity correlates with the BoS measures and stride length and thus may be important for enhancing gait stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-524
Number of pages7
JournalGait and Posture
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2018


  • Energy balance
  • Foot placement strategy
  • Gait kinematics
  • Physical activity
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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