Correlating mechanical work with energy consumption during gait throughout pregnancy.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Measures of mechanical work may be useful in evaluating efficiency of walking during pregnancy. Various adaptations in the body during pregnancy lead to altered gait, consequently contributing to the total energy cost of walking. Measures of metabolic energy expenditure may not be reliable for measuring energetic cost of gait during pregnancy as pregnancy results in numerous metabolic changes resulting from foetal development. Therefore, the aim of this study is to determine if mechanical work prediction equations correlate with the metabolic energy cost of gait during pregnancy.


Thirty-five (35) women (27.5 ± 6.1 years) gave informed consent for participation in the study at different weeks of gestation pregnancy. Gas exchange and gait data were recorded while walking at a fixed self-selected walking speed. External (Wext) work was estimated assuming no energy transfer between segments, while internal work (Wint) assumed energy transfer between segments. Hence total energy of the body (Wtot) was calculated based on the segmental changes relative to the surrounding, and relative to the centre of mass of the whole body. Equations for mechanical work were correlated with net and gross O2 rate, and O2 cost.


External, internal and total mechanical energy showed significant positive relationship with gross O2 rate (r = 0.48, r = 0.35; and r = 0.49 respectively), and gross O2 cost (r = 0.42; r = 0.70, and r = 0.62, respectively). In contrast, external, internal and total mechanical energy had no significant relationship with net O2 rate (r = 0.19, r = 0.24, and r = 0.24, respectively). Net O2 cost was significant related Wext (r = 0.49) Wint (r = 0.66) and Wtot (r = 0.62). Energy recovery improved with increase in gait speed.


Measures of mechanical work, when adjusted for resting energy expenditure, and walking speed may be useful in comparing metabolic energy consumption between women during pregnancy, or assessment or gait changes of the same individual throughout pregnancy.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Krkeljas, Z; Moss, SJ

Published Date

  • November 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 15 /

Start / End Page

  • 303 -

PubMed ID

  • 26589617

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4654899

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2393

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1471-2393

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s12884-015-0744-4


  • eng