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Journal Article


Rothwell SA, Eckland CB, Campbell N, Connolly CP, Catena RD. Gait Posture 2019; 76: 270-276.


Department of Kinesiology and Educational Psychology, Washington State University, 101 Physical Education Building, Pullman, WA, United States. Electronic address:


(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)






BACKGROUND: Falls caused by balance issues during pregnancy are quite common, and these issues can continue postpartum, potentially posing a danger to both the mother and baby. While there has been research on changes to walking gait during pregnancy, walking balance in the postpartum period has yet to be examined. Therefore, the aims of this study were to examine if balance changes persist in postpartum and the contribution of anthropometry changes.

METHODS: This was done through longitudinal observational cohort study at 16 and 40 weeks gestation and at four-week intervals postpartum. Balance was measured as lateral center of mass motion during treadmill walking, and recorded with motion capture cameras following anthropometric measurements. Balance variables were statistically analyzed to observe how they changed over time. Hierarchical regression analyses determined correlations between balance and anthropometry.

RESULTS: Balance was observed to improve significantly just following birth. Additionally, there were changes that continued to indicate improvement throughout the postpartum period. Anthropometry changes were significantly, but minimally, correlated with balance changes. SIGNIFICANCE: Many women begin to return to normal activities soon after birth. With women participating in various forms of exercise, potentially rigorous work requirements, and tasks around the home, it is important that they, their medical providers, and employers understand and consider the continued risks of imbalance.

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Language: en


Anthropometry; Dynamic balance; Gait; Postpartum


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