Changes in Gait with Anteriorly Added Mass: A Pregnancy Simulation Study

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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During pregnancy, the female body experiences structural changes, such as weight gain. As pregnancy advances, most of the additional mass is concentrated anteriorly on the lower trunk. The purpose of this study is to analyze kinematic and kinetic changes when load is added anteriorly to the trunk, simulating a physical change experienced during pregnancy. Twenty healthy females walked on a treadmill while wearing a custom made pseudo-pregnancy sac (1 kg) under 3 load conditions: sac-only condition, 10-lb condition (4.535 kg added anteriorly), and 20-lb condition (9.07 kg added anteriorly), used to simulate pregnancy in the second trimester and at full-term pregnancy, respectively. The increase in anterior mass resulted in kinematic changes at the knee, hip, pelvis, and trunk in the sagittal and frontal planes. In addition, ankle, knee, and hip joint moments normalized to baseline mass increased with increased load; however, these moments decreased when normalized to total mass. These kinematic and kinetic changes may suggest that women modify gait biomechanics to reduce the effect of added load. Furthermore, the increase in joint moments increases stress on the musculoskeletal system and may contribute to musculoskeletal pain.

Maureen I. Ogamba, Kari L. Loverro, Simone V. Gill, and Cara L. Lewis are with the College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, Sargent College, Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA. Natalie M. Laudicina is with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA.

Address author correspondence to Kari Loverro at kloverro@bu.edu.