Simulation of the third trimester of pregnancy using a maternity jacket on balance, foot stance and lumbar lordosis

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    Background: Falls rates in the pregnant population have been shown to be high. Previous research has sug- gested that this could be due to biomechanical changes such as weight gain and the release of the hormone relaxin, which can soften tissues such as ligaments. There is limited research in this field and current UK guide- lines do not recommend any falls advice from health care professionals. Previous studies have not investigated the effects the biomechanical changes have on balance, foot stance and lumbar lordosis without hormone in- volvement, nor has any study looked at the relationship between the three. Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate if the biomechanical changes caused by simulated pregnancy have an effect on balance, foot stance and lumbar lordosis without hormone involvement, and to evaluate any significant relationships between the three. Methods: Subjects. 20 non-pregnant female subjects were recruited from the student population at Teesside University. Instruments: The Biodex Balance System (BBS) was used to measure postural stability, and a flexicurve ruler was used to measure lumbar lordosis. Foot stance was measured using the distance between the medial malleolus of both feet, using the measurements on the footplate of the Biodex balance system. Pregnancy was simulated using a pregnancy simulation jacket (PSJ). Procedure: Participants` Balance, foot stance and lumbar lordosis was measured whilst stood on the biodex balance system. Participants were then fitted with the pregnancy simulation jacket and allowed 15 minutes to acclimatise. The testing procedure was then repeated whilst wearing the jacket. Results were analysed using an SPSS computer programme. Results Paired t-tests found there was a significant reduction in balance (2.1 vs. 1.6 Arbitrary, 95% CI .18 to .78, p=0.003), and a significant increase in foot stance (14.1 vs. 16.5 cms, 95% CI 1.1 to 3.7 cms, p=.001) and lumbar lordosis (51 degrees vs. 67 degrees, 95% CI 11 to 21 degrees, p=0.0005), when the pregnancy empathy jacket was worn. A Pearson’s correlation found that there was no significant re- lationship between balance, foot stance or lumbar lordosis. Discussion and Conclusions: This study suggests that the biomechanical effects caused by pregnancy signifi- cantly reduced balance, and increased foot stance width and lumbar lordosis. No significant relationship was found between balance, foot stance and lumbar lordosis. The results from this study would suggest the need for falls advice in the antenatal period by healthcare professionals, and further research should look at inter- ventions to reduce the falls risk
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2018
    EventSOSORT XIII International Meeting - Dubrovnik, Croatia
    Duration: 19 Apr 201821 Apr 2018


    ConferenceSOSORT XIII International Meeting


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