Background: During pregnancy, physical and hormonal modifications occur. Morphologic alterations of the feet are found. These observations can induce alterations in plantar pressure. This study sought to investigate plantar pressures during gait in the last 4 months of pregnancy and in the postpartum period. A comparison with nulliparous women was conducted to investigate plantar pressure modifications during pregnancy.
Methods: Fifty-eight women in the last 4 months of pregnancy, nine postpartum women, and 23 healthy nonpregnant women (control group) performed gait trials on an electronic walkway at preferred speeds. The results for the three groups were compared using analysis of variance.
Results: During pregnancy, peak pressure and contact area decreased for the forefoot and rearfoot. These parameters increased significantly for the midfoot. The gait strategy seemed to be lateralization of gait with an increased contact area of the lateral midfoot and both reduced pressure and a later peak time on the medial forefoot. In the postpartum group, footprint parameters were modified compared with the pregnant group, indicating a trend toward partial return to control values, although differences persisted between the postpartum and control groups.
Conclusions: Pregnant women had altered plantar pressures during gait. These findings could define a specific pattern of gait footprints in late pregnancy because plantar pressures had characteristics that could maintain a stable and safe gait.
A woman's body undergoes many changes during pregnancy, and it adapts by developing compensatory strategies, which can be sources of pain. We sought to analyze the effects of pregnancy and pelvic girdle pain (PGP) on center of pressure (COP) parameters during gait at different speeds.
Sixty-one healthy pregnant women, 66 women with PGP between 18 and 27 weeks of pregnancy, and 22 healthy nonpregnant women walked at different velocities (slow, preferential, and fast) on a walkway with built-in pressure sensors. An analysis of variance was performed to determine the effects of gait speed and group on COP parameters.
In healthy pregnant women and women with PGP, COP parameters were significantly modified compared with those in nonpregnant women (P < .01). Support time was increased regardless of gait speed, and anteroposterior COP displacement was significantly decreased for women with PGP compared with healthy pregnant women. In addition, mediolateral COP displacement was significantly decreased in pregnant women compared with nongravid women.
Gait speed influenced COP displacement and velocity parameters, and gait velocity potentiated the effect of pregnancy on the different parameters. Pelvic girdle pain had an influence on COP anteroposterior length only. With COP parameters being only slightly modified by PGP, the gait of pregnant women with PGP was similar to that of healthy pregnant women but differed from that of nonpregnant women.