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Scientifica
Volume 2015, Article ID 580374, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/580374
Research Article

Three-Dimensional Kinetic Adaptations of Gait throughout Pregnancy and Postpartum

1CIPER Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Human Performance, Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Estrada da Costa, Cruz Quebrada-Dafundo, 1499-002 Lisboa, Portugal
2ESDRM-IPS Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior, Polytechnic Institute of Santarém, Avenida Doutor Mário Soares, Rio Maior, 2040-413 Santarém, Portugal
3FMH-UL Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Estrada da Costa, Cruz Quebrada-Dafundo, 1499-002 Lisboa, Portugal

Received 29 June 2015; Revised 8 September 2015; Accepted 9 September 2015

Academic Editor: Erwin van Wegen

Copyright © 2015 Marco Branco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Biomechanical adaptations that occur during pregnancy can lead to changes on gait pattern. Nevertheless, these adaptations of gait are still not fully understood. The purpose was to determine the effect of pregnancy on the biomechanical pattern of walking, regarding the kinetic parameters. A three-dimensional analysis was performed in eleven participants. The kinetic parameters in the joints of the lower limb during gait were compared at the end of the first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy and in the postpartum period, in healthy pregnant women. The main results showed a reduction in the normalized vertical reaction forces, throughout pregnancy, particularly the third peak. Pregnant women showed, during most of the stance phase, medial reaction forces as a motor response to promote the body stability. Bilateral changes were observed in hip joint, with a decrease in the participation of the hip extensors and in the eccentric contraction of hip flexors. In ankle joint a decrease in the participation of ankle plantar flexors was found. In conclusion, the overall results point to biomechanical adjustments that showed a decrease of the mechanical load of women throughout pregnancy, with exception for few unilateral changes of hip joint moments.