Evaluation of postural equilibrium and fall risk during pregnancy

Gait Posture. 2014 Apr;39(4):1122-5. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2014.01.013. Epub 2014 Feb 2.


Objective: The hormonal, anatomical and physiological states change during pregnancy. Due to these alterations, pregnant women are at increased risk of falling throughout this period. The aim of this study is to evaluate postural equilibrium and risk of falls during pregnancy by comparing dynamic postural stability between pregnant and non-pregnant control women.

Methods: Eighty pregnant women (the first, second and third trimester of pregnancy; 25, 30 and 25, respectively) and thirty nonpregnant control women were evaluated and compared in terms of dynamic postural stability using the Biodex Balance System. Overall (OA), anterior-posterior (AP), medial-lateral (ML) stability index and fall risk test (FRT) scores were obtained from the mean scores of the three trials at platform stability of level 8.

Results: No significant differences for OA, APSI and MLSI were found among the pregnant women in the first and second trimester and nonpregnant control subjects. Overall, anteroposterior and mediolateral index scores were significantly higher in pregnant women in the third trimester than nonpregnant controls (p<0.05). Fall risk test scores of third trimester patients were found to be significantly higher than the first and second trimester and nonpregnant control women (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Pregnancy has a negative effect on postural stability. Postural equilibrium decreases during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. Using postural stability tests may detect pregnant women with a high fall risk.

Keywords: Fall; Postural equilibrium; Pregnancy; Stability.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Pregnancy Trimesters / physiology
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Young Adult