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The purpose of this study was to compare gait kinematics, kinetics, and muscle activation between pregnant females with high and low scores for low back and/or pelvic girdle pain during and after pregnancy.


Twenty participants tested during second trimester, third trimester, and again post-partum. At each session, motion capture, force plates, and surface electromyography data were captured during self-selected velocity over-ground walking. Participants completed the Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale (QBPDS) and were assigned to high (QBPDS ≥15) or low pain groups (QBPDS


Nine participants met the high pain group criteria and 11 were low pain. During second trimester the high pain group compared to the low pain group demonstrated smaller peak hip flexor moments, total hip work, percent hip contribution to work, and larger percent ankle contribution to work. Pregnant females demonstrated greater hip, knee, and ankle moments, ankle work, and gluteus maximus muscle activation third trimester than second trimester.


Reduced hip and greater ankle contribution to work in the high pain group during second trimester could indicate decreased hip utilization early in pregnancy and may contribute to disability as pregnancy progresses. It is also possible kinetic differences during second trimester reflect an early strategy to reduce pain by avoiding hip joint loading. Increased moments and work during third trimester indicate a clinical imperative to better prepare pregnant females to accommodate increased joint loading and muscular demand.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Clinical Biomechanics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Clinical Biomechanics, volume 97, in 2022.

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