Laxity of knee cruciate ligaments during pregnancy

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1997 Jul;26(1):2-6. doi: 10.2519/jospt.1997.26.1.2.


Pregnancy-related increase in ligament laxity may cause joint instability. The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) to assess knee laxity changes during pregnancy and 2) to evaluate the effect of exercise on knee laxity due to a typical prenatal fitness program. The subjects were healthy pregnant women. One group (N = 27) participated in exercise classes designed according to national guidelines. The second group (N = 38) was more sedentary. A clinical arthrometer, KT-1000, was used, and anterior and posterior drawer tests were performed. The results were added and averaged for the two knees. Laxity was constant in the second half of pregnancy and had significantly decreased by 14% 4 months after birth. No influence of parity or exercise was detected. The exercise program employing minimal to moderate weight bearing did not result in any measurable increases in knee laxity and, therefore, appears to be appropriate with regard to knee stability. These results should not, however, be extended to different types of exercise programs without additional research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / physiopathology*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / etiology
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology*
  • Joint Instability / prevention & control
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control
  • Weight Gain
  • Weight-Bearing