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Robert D. Catena, Nigel Campbell, Alexa L. Werner and Kendall M. Iverson

The authors investigated the relationship between anthropometric changes and dynamic balance changes during pregnancy. A total of 15 participants were recruited for testing, using a convenience sample, from 12 weeks of gestation until childbirth. The authors measured body anthropometry with a tape measure and calipers. The authors conducted a self-selected speed walking analysis using a motion capture system and measured balance deficits as increased motion of the body center of mass. While a relatively large total explained variance of preferred walking speed was achieved (R2 = .629), this study reports that body anthropometry explains little (<1%) unique variance in walking speed (P < .001) after covariates are considered. The authors also found that body anthropometry explains little (<5%) unique variance in dynamic balance control (P < .001) after covariates are considered, but total explained variance by all variables remained low to moderate (R2 = +.248). These findings indicate that while body anthropometry changes correlate with dynamic balance changes during pregnancy, these provide little to no additional information about common balance changes during pregnancy after covariates were considered. Prepregnancy differences between individuals seem to be the predominant determinant of changes during pregnancy.

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Christopher P. Connolly, Jordana Dahmen, Robert D. Catena, Nigel Campbell and Alexander H.K. Montoye

Purpose: We aimed to determine the step-count validity of commonly used physical activity monitors for pregnancy overground walking and during free-living conditions. Methods: Participants (n = 39, 12–38 weeks gestational age) completed six 100-step overground walking trials (three self-selected “normal pace”, three “brisk pace”) while wearing five physical activity monitors: Omron HJ-720 (OM), New Lifestyles 2000 (NL), Fitbit Flex (FF), ActiGraph Link (AG), and Modus StepWatch (SW). For each walking trial, monitor-recorded steps and criterion-measured steps were assessed. Participants also wore all activity monitors for an extended free-living period (72 hours), with the SW used as the criterion device. Mean absolute percent error (MAPE) was calculated for overground walking and free-living protocols and compared across monitors. Results: For overground walking, the OM, NL, and SW performed well (<5% MAPE) for normal and brisk pace walking trials, and also when trials were analyzed by actual speeds. The AG and FF had significantly greater MAPE for overground walking trials (11.9–14.7%). Trimester did affect device accuracy to some degree for the AG, FF, and SW, with error being lower in the third trimester compared to the second. For the free-living period, the OM, NL, AG, and FF significantly underestimated (>32% MAPE) actual steps taken per day as measured by the criterion SW (M [SD] = 9,350 [3,910]). MAPE for the OM was particularly high (45.3%). Conclusion: The OM, NL, and SW monitors are valid measures for overground step-counting during pregnancy walking. However, the OM and NL significantly underestimate steps by second and third trimester pregnant women in free-living conditions.