Ground reaction forces during gait in pregnant fallers and non-fallers

Jean L McCrory, April J Chambers, Ashi Daftary, Mark S Redfern
Gait & Posture 2011, 34 (4): 524-8

UNLABELLED: Pregnant women are at a high risk of experiencing a fall. To our knowledge, ground reaction forces (GRFs) in pregnant fallers and non-fallers have not been reported.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of pregnancy and fall history on GRFs during walking.

METHODS: Forty one pregnant subjects in the mid 2nd and 3rd trimesters (pregnant fallers: n=15, pregnant non-fallers: n=14), and 40 control women walked at a freely chosen walking speed along an 8m walkway. A force plate, hidden in the walkway, was used to collect GRFs (1080Hz). Kinematic data (120Hz) were collected from a marker placed on the lumbar spine to estimate walking velocity. GRF variables included mediolateral Center of Pressure (COP) excursion, and GRFs normalized to body mass. A two factor ANOVA (trimester x fall group) was used to compare subject demographics, and walking velocity (α=0.05). A two factor ANCOVA (trimester×fall group, covariate: velocity) was performed to examine other GRF variables (Bonferroni corrected α=0.006) and the mediolateral COP excursion (α=0.05).

RESULTS: Walking velocity was greater in the control group (p<0.05). No differences were seen in the GRFs or COP movement between trimesters or between pregnant fallers and non-fallers.

CONCLUSIONS: When walking velocity was considered in the statistical model, ground reaction forces are essentially unchanged by pregnancy.

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