Is the Gaze Behavior During Stair Walking Affected by Pregnancy?

Marta Gimunová, Martin Zvonař, Zdenko Reguli, Pavel Ventruba, Pavel Ružbarský, Igor Duvač, Peter Šagat, Gheorghe Balint


During stair walking, there is an increased risk of falling among pregnant women. A substantial contribution for the foot placement and balance control during stair walking is provided by vision. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there are any pregnancy-related changes in gaze behavior during the stair ascending and stair descending. Six women participated in this study during their pregnancy, at the 14, 27, 31and 38 gestational weeks. Each data collection consisted of descending and ascending a 22-treads staircase, one tread at a time. To monitor the gaze location, a SensoMotoric Instruments eye-tracking glasses system (SMI, Inc.) was used. To compare the differences in the stair descent and stair ascent between the first, second, third and fourth data collection sessions effect size obtained by Cohen’s d was used. Results of the gaze vector analysis revealed the turn of the gaze toward the handrail placement (gaze vector x) and toward the stair treads (gaze vector y), suggesting a wider awareness of the safety facility and a stronger need of the foot placement control during advanced phases of pregnancy.


eye tracking; pregnancy; stair ascending; stair descending

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