The Effects of Advancing Stages of Pregnancy on Balance and Stair Locomotion in Healthy Females
Background: One in four females fall while pregnant, which may lead to injury, hospitalization, or birth complications. No empirical research has been conducted on single-limb support (SLS) balance or joint kinematics during stair locomotion in pregnant and postpartum females. The aim of this study was to quantify possible alterations to postural control and stair kinematics in advancing stages of pregnancy when compared to non-pregnant females. Methods: This cross-sectional study compared eighteen females, consisting of six non-pregnant controls, five 2nd trimester, four 3rd trimester, and three postpartum. Center of pressure excursion area data were obtained during static balance trials on a single force platform for 30s in right limb, left limb, and bilateral conditions (1000 Hz). Sacral velocity and joint range of motion at the knee and ankle joints were collected during stair ascent and descent (200 Hz). Depending on the variable, balance and kinematic results were assessed using separate ANOVAs (α=0.05). Results: Single-limb balance was significantly greater than bilateral (p<0.01), but right and left limb conditions were not significantly different from each other among groups (p=0.58). Stair ascent and descent kinematic variables were not significantly different among groups. According to these results, advancing stages of pregnancy did not significantly alter tasks heavily reliant on single-limb support. Therefore, pregnant females with symmetrical limb balance suggests that they may not be in the high-risk category for falls.
Vanderhoof, Heather Roxanne, "The Effects of Advancing Stages of Pregnancy on Balance and Stair Locomotion in Healthy Females" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI27995254.