Does the first trimester of pregnancy induce alterations in the walking pattern?

PLoS One. 2019 Jan 16;14(1):e0209766. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0209766. eCollection 2019.


Introduction: From among many studies observing the walking pattern throughout pregnancy, only two items monitor the influence of pregnancy on the movement system during gait considering the period before gestation.

Research question: Does the women's gait pattern at the end of the first trimester undergo changes in comparison to body movement pattern before pregnancy?

Methods: All subjects who met the inclusion criteria gave signed and informed consent before the study. Two experimental sessions were arranged according to the same protocol: (P0) before pregnancy and (P1) at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy (12th week of gestation). At first the anthropometric measures were taken. Then, walking trials at a self-selected speed along a walkway were registered with Vicon 250 (Oxford Metrics Ltd.; Oxford, UK) and FreeMED force platform (Sensor Medica, Italy).

Results: An analysis of anthropometric parameters in 12th pregnancy week demonstrated significant changes in mean values of waist circumference and waist to hip ratio as well as waist to height ratio indexes compared to the results before pregnancy. No significant differences were found in the basic kinematic gait parameters between experimental conditions. Significant increase of mean inter-ankle distance during double support phase occurred during the first trimester of pregnancy. Also, the ratio of the ankle separation width to the pelvic width was noticeably higher in gestation. Then, angular changes of the pelvis in coronal and transverse planes throughout gait cycle during pregnancy demonstrated significant differences compared to those measured before pregnancy. At the same time in the first trimester of pregnancy no adaptive changes in the pattern of feet loading take place.

Significance: Since our study is of longitudinal character, in the course of pregnancy we expect compensatory mechanisms more clearly demonstrated. Therefore, we hope to identify a strategy of the gravid body progression in space.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint
  • Anthropometry / methods
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Gait Analysis / methods
  • Humans
  • Pelvis
  • Poland
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Waist Circumference
  • Waist-Hip Ratio
  • Walking / physiology*

Grant support

Sources of financing: Research project No 99/BS/INB/2016 realised within statutory activities.