Pregnant Women Fit Between Everyday Obstacles

in Article, News, Pop Culture, Uncategorized
February 10th, 2014

Pregnancy is…? This sentence can end in a multitude of ways depending on whose answering the question. If I ask the ‘teen-mom-too-good-to-be-true-seventeen year-old-boyfriend’ who isn’t worried about nothing, then he’d probably say…well I would’ve asked but he just stormed off in his 92′ Bronco. You know, the one with the flames on the side? If I ask the nervous husband who has been day dreaming of becoming that perfect family man ever since he got into the relationship, then he’d probably say: If it’s a girl, I will be the dragon that protects my princess’ castle. If I ask the soon-to-be-BIG-brother whose busy doing doughnuts in his fisher price corvette yelling “look mom, no hands,” he’d probably say: This doesn’t change the cookie rations, does it? And finally if I ask the pregnant mother-to-be if she thinks she’s gained weight what she’s praying for, she’d probably say: Just not your father’s personality, PLEASE, not your father’s personality.

Pregnancy is engaging. It brings together families, can tear relationships apart, and creates changes in the daily routine. Most notable is women’s change in body size. Bodily size and the awareness of that size can create multiple obstacles. Typically, pregnant women are thought to be inhibited in their ability to adapt to these obstacles, however, pregnant women are just as capable as non-pregnant individuals. Today, we’ll discuss their ability to asses depth perception and whether or not they can fit through openings such as doorways. Thanks to perceptual-motor-recalibration, pregnant women are just as good at adjusting their spatial awareness of their environment to match their constantly changing bodies.

Ground-breaking research, completed by John Franchak and Karen Adolph at New York University, analyzed the possibility to perform certain actions that reflect the environment:body relationship. Commonly termed AFFORDANCES, this relationship of fit vs. surroundings happens constantly throughout every person’s lifespan, whether it be motor abilities or morphology in general. At NYU, researchers conducted two experiments:
1) Pregnant women’s judgement’s of whether they could fit through doorways as their bellies increased. These results were compared with non-pregnant adults as a control.
2) Because pregnant women’s growth occurs gradually and they are able to adapt using everyday experience, participants wore a pregnancy pack simulating a 9-month-pregnancy-term. The experiment tested participants with and without learning (initial trial).
With experiment 1, errors were comparable among both groups. Additionally, as pregnant bellies increased, so too did their ability to asses whether it was possible to squeeze through a doorway. With experiment 2, participants tended to excessively overcompensate for the additional size without learning. However, when offered time to move around and practice, they were able to take appropriate actions in order to adapt.

Our brains are cool. They do a lot of stuff and combine a lot of systems to make stuff work. Stuff referring in this instance to decision making and skilled motor action. Although walking through a doorway may not be perceived as a ‘skilled’ action, why else would there be a system that allows the brain to compensate for it? That’s not entirely true, but is simplified for the reader and satisfies my taste. More to the point, pregnant brains are the same as non-pregnant brains. Pregnant women are the same as non-pregnant women, at least when it comes to affordance judgments. In terms of emotional fluctuations and cravings for delectable junk food, pregnancy is a whole ‘nother article…

-Matthew Jahnke


Life’s Not A Squeeze For Pregnant Women – Science Daily

Brain and Depth Perception – Scientific American

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