The physiological and anatomical changes associated with pregnancy can contribute to any number of complications. Although most of these problems are mild, some carry significant health risk for the mother, child or both. Classic examples of potentially severe complications include high blood pressure, diabetes and anemia.
Musculoskeletal injuries may be another complication to consider, according to a study that analyzed the effect of gait alterations (basically, changes to walking patterns) during pregnancy. During the second half of their final trimester and again one year after birth, 15 women repeatedly walked 12 yards with reflective markers attached to their pelvis, hips, knees, ankles and feet. Video cameras were used as part of a motion analysis system to gather data.
Overall, gait was remarkably unchanged, although significant increases in hip and ankles parameters were observed. The authors speculate that during pregnancy, there may be an increased demand placed on hip and ankle muscles when walking, potentially increasing the risk for any number of musculoskeletal overuse injuries.
These findings emphasize the value of chiropractic care during pregnancy. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help prevent musculoskeletal injuries and ease the pain of injuries if and when they do occur.
Foti T, Davids JR, Bagley A. A biomechanical analysis of gait during pregnancy. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, May 2000: Vol. 82, pp625-32.