If you are pregnant and have been hearing about the way you walk OR rather waddle, oh! don’t worry! That’s the pregnant woman penguin waddle. It is very normal to waddle while pregnant. But if you have an elegant gait and feel light on your feet, you are one of those lucky ones.
Almost every pregnant woman finds it hard to stay upright when the center of gravity is so not where it should be.
Why is this happening during pregnancy? Why do almost all pregnant women have penguin-waddle?
Well, the study on the pregnant “waddle”: an evaluation of torso kinematics in pregnancy indicated that pregnant women demonstrated a lateral shifting of the body during gait, which accompanied a greater step width. The increased thoracic extension and anterior pelvic tilt, along with decreased sagittal plane ROM are likely adaptations to increased abdominal size.1
We now have the answers!
During pregnancy, the weight distribution alters the center of gravity and in order to remain stable, you walk with a modified gait. It isn’t just your baby bump that makes you waddle, as your baby grows and gets larger, your pelvis and hips spread to make room, that alters the way you walk. And the waddle can become more pronounced when your baby ‘drops.’
If your stride is affected it is also because of pregnancy hormones that soften your ligaments and loosen your joints. One good news is that this will help your baby squeeze through your pelvic bones when it’s time.
A team of scientists from Hiroshima University, Japan proved that a pregnant woman changes the way she walks, even as early as the first trimester. They used sophisticated 3D motion capture technology to create a biomechanical model of pregnant women to research. It allowed them to study how pregnant women are forced to adjust their everyday movements, from getting up to changing direction while walking.
The research was not just about understanding the gait patterns of pregnant ladies. They also found that accidental falls cause up to a quarter of all trauma injuries during pregnancy, and have the same level of risk as a 70-year-old woman.
Scientists from the Hiroshima University said, “Prior to our study, there were almost no theory-supported models of the movement of pregnant women. This model is just the start of our goal of contributing to a safe and comfortable life before and after childbirth for pregnant women.”
Now should you worry about it?
No, but you can probably find ways to walk safe with flats and not high heels; also be aware that your balance is out of control and a bit dodgy.
The scientists hope their research will have important and widely applicable effects. Yasuyo Sunaga, the first author of the research paper, said, “Prior to our study, there were almost no theory-supported models of the movement of pregnant women.”
“This model is just the start of our goal of contributing to a safe and comfortable life before and after childbirth for pregnant women. We want to find the ideal way for new mothers to carry their baby, what exercises are most effective when returning to non-pregnant fitness, and what physical postures are best for work in the home or office. Now that we have the appropriate data, we hope to apply our model and make it possible to problem-solve these concerns of daily life,” says Yasuyo Sunaga in the journal Applied Ergonomics.
We are sure that you look forward to finding out what they suggest and work on your waddle!
|↑1||McCrory, Jean L., April J. Chambers, Ashi Daftary, and Mark S. Redfern. “The pregnant “waddle”: An evaluation of torso kinematics in pregnancy.” Journal of Biomechanics 47, no. 12 (2014): 2964-2968.|