Abstract Title

Biomechanical Differences of Moms and Non-Moms

Additional Funding Sources

The project described was supported by the Pacific Northwest Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation through the National Science Foundation under Award No. HRD-1410465.

Abstract

During and after pregnancy, mothers biomechanically adapt their walking to account for the additional load of their baby. For example, their posture may change, and mothers can experience pelvic and back pain when carrying loads during walking gait. The effects of holding a baby in arms during walking gait is not fully understood. Two biomechanics studies have been conducted to understand how the mechanical constraint of holding an infant can impact the ground reaction forces of the caregiver. Understanding the body loading patterns is important for determining loads at specific pain-generating joints. The biomechanical differences of non-Moms and Moms during gait conditions needs to be further investigated. The 2020 study, Infant Carrying Method Impacts Caregiver Posture and Loading During Gait and Item Retrieval had 10 non-Moms walk across a flat surface at a self-selected pace in two conditions: (1) unloaded (holding nothing) and (2) in-arms (holding mannequin in a self-selected position). The ongoing 2021 study has 11 Moms walk across a flat surface at a self-selected pace in the same two conditions with the exception of the mom holding their infant instead of a mannequin. Motion capture systems, VICON (2020 study) and Qualisys (2021 study) were used to collect data. Multiple embedded force platforms were used to collect the forces exerted on the participants during the walking gait conditions. The peak braking forces and the peak vertical impact forces were analyzed through MATLAB and statistical tests. Peak vertical impact force was significantly greater during the in-arms condition compared to the unloaded. There was no significant difference between the moms and non-moms. Understanding the different walking patterns of moms and non-moms can help guide future experimental designs. This will allow researchers to understand if studies on non-moms can apply to moms and may lead to the development of interventions when moms experience pain during walking gait. Further investigations will compare other aspects of the studies like spatiotemporal parameters (step length, step time, stance time, etc.). To improve this study more statistical tests will be conducted on other gait conditions to confirm there is no significant difference between moms and non-moms walking gait.

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Biomechanical Differences of Moms and Non-Moms

During and after pregnancy, mothers biomechanically adapt their walking to account for the additional load of their baby. For example, their posture may change, and mothers can experience pelvic and back pain when carrying loads during walking gait. The effects of holding a baby in arms during walking gait is not fully understood. Two biomechanics studies have been conducted to understand how the mechanical constraint of holding an infant can impact the ground reaction forces of the caregiver. Understanding the body loading patterns is important for determining loads at specific pain-generating joints. The biomechanical differences of non-Moms and Moms during gait conditions needs to be further investigated. The 2020 study, Infant Carrying Method Impacts Caregiver Posture and Loading During Gait and Item Retrieval had 10 non-Moms walk across a flat surface at a self-selected pace in two conditions: (1) unloaded (holding nothing) and (2) in-arms (holding mannequin in a self-selected position). The ongoing 2021 study has 11 Moms walk across a flat surface at a self-selected pace in the same two conditions with the exception of the mom holding their infant instead of a mannequin. Motion capture systems, VICON (2020 study) and Qualisys (2021 study) were used to collect data. Multiple embedded force platforms were used to collect the forces exerted on the participants during the walking gait conditions. The peak braking forces and the peak vertical impact forces were analyzed through MATLAB and statistical tests. Peak vertical impact force was significantly greater during the in-arms condition compared to the unloaded. There was no significant difference between the moms and non-moms. Understanding the different walking patterns of moms and non-moms can help guide future experimental designs. This will allow researchers to understand if studies on non-moms can apply to moms and may lead to the development of interventions when moms experience pain during walking gait. Further investigations will compare other aspects of the studies like spatiotemporal parameters (step length, step time, stance time, etc.). To improve this study more statistical tests will be conducted on other gait conditions to confirm there is no significant difference between moms and non-moms walking gait.