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Volume 2016, Article ID 3921536, 12 pages
Research Article

Influence of Body Composition on Gait Kinetics throughout Pregnancy and Postpartum Period

1Neuromechanics of Human Movement Research Group, Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Human Performance (CIPER), Faculty of Human Kinetics, Estrada da Costa, 1499-002 Cruz Quebrada-Dafundo, Portugal
2Polytechnic Institute of Santarém-Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior (IPS-ESDRM), Avenida Dr. Mário Soares 110, 2040-413 Rio Maior, Portugal
3Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon (UL-FMH), Estrada da Costa, 1499-002 Cruz Quebrada-Dafundo, Portugal
4Faculty of Health Sciences, University Fernando Pessoa, Rua Carlos da Maia 296, 4200-150 Porto, Portugal
5Research Centre for Anthropology and Health, University of Coimbra, Calçada Martim de Freitas, 3000-456 Coimbra, Portugal
6Institute of Environmental Health, University of Lisbon (UL-FML), Avenida Professor Egas Moniz, 1649-028 Lisboa, Portugal

Received 4 December 2015; Accepted 24 February 2016

Academic Editor: Bijan Najafi

Copyright © 2016 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.


Pregnancy leads to several changes in body composition and morphology of women. It is not clear whether the biomechanical changes occurring in this period are due exclusively to body composition and size or to other physiological factors. The purpose was to quantify the morphology and body composition of women throughout pregnancy and in the postpartum period and identify the contribution of these parameters on the lower limb joints kinetic during gait. Eleven women were assessed longitudinally, regarding anthropometric, body composition, and kinetic parameters of gait. Body composition and body dimensions showed a significant increase during pregnancy and a decrease in the postpartum period. In the postpartum period, body composition was similar to the 1st trimester, except for triceps skinfold, total calf area, and body mass index, with higher results than at the beginning of pregnancy. Regression models were developed to predict women’s internal loading through anthropometric variables. Four models include variables associated with the amount of fat; four models include variables related to overall body weight; three models include fat-free mass; one model includes the shape of the trunk as a predictor variable. Changes in maternal body composition and morphology largely determine kinetic dynamics of the joints in pregnant women.