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Dr. Robert Catena's Gait and Posture Biomechanics Lab

Balance changes during pregnancy


Falls resulting from loss of balance continue to be a leading cause of gestational injury and fetal death. A fall during pregnancy increases the likelihood of musculoskeletal injury, caesarian delivery, and premature labor. Providing patients with evidence-based clinical information has been shown to prevent balance loss and falls in non-pregnant populations. However, prenatal healthcare providers do not have a clinical tool or even basic information necessary to evaluate the fall risk throughout gestation. A multitude of opinions exist as to what factors lead to a loss of balance during pregnancy, but little scientific data exist to confirm these opinions. Our long-term goal is to reduce fall-induced injuries in pregnant women and increase fetal survival by developing a comprehensive clinical tool to detect fall risk in pregnant patients. Clinicians will use this tool to provide targeted advice to specific patients on both their risk and ways to decrease their risk of falls.

  1. Catena RD, Chen SH, Chou LS. (2017). Does the anthropometric model influence whole-body center of mass calculations in gait? Journal of Biomechanics. 59:23-28.
  2. Catena RD, Connolly CP, McGeorge KM, Campbell N. (2018). A comparison of methods to determine center of mass during pregnancy. Journal of Biomechanics. 71:217-224.
  3. Flores D, Connolly CP, Campbell N, Catena RD. (2018). Walking balance on a treadmill changes during pregnancy. Gait and Posture. 66:146-150.
  4. Catena RD, Campbell N, Werner AM, Iverson KM. (2019). Anthropometric changes during pregnancy provide little explanation of dynamic balance changes. Journal of Applied Biomechanics. 1-24.
  5. Catena RD, Bailey JP, Campbell N, Music HE. (2019). Stand-to-sit kinematic changes during pregnancy correspond with reduced sagittal plane hip motion. Clinical Biomechanics. 67:107-114.
  6. Catena RD, Bailey JP, Campbell N, Stewart BC, Marion SJ. (2020). Correlations between joint kinematics and dynamic balance control during gait in pregnancy. Gait and Posture. 80:106-112.
  7. Stewart BC, Dai S, Havens KL, Eggleston JD, Bagwell JJ, Deering RE, Little EE, Catena RD. (2023). Determining fall risk change throughout pregnancy: the accuracy of postpartum survey and relationship to fall efficacy. 1-10.
  8. Jamali P, Kinkade KM, Ericson A, Tyler B, Prashad S, Catena RD. (2024). Different Neurocognitive Controls Modulate Obstacle Avoidance through Pregnancy. Experimental Brain Research. 242(2):505-519.

Phone: (509) 335-4250            Email:              Location: Smith Gym 19 and 21, Pullman WA 99164-1410