Modeling and simulation of pregnant employees

Julia A Kalish, Purdue University


This research proposes to answer the question: “Can a pregnancy simulator worn by non-pregnant females of childbearing years replicate the pregnant condition closely enough to yield comparable results to pregnant women?” Thirty women performed a standing assembly task once while wearing “The Empathy Belly” Pregnancy Simulator and once without it. Four pregnant women in their third trimester also participated without wearing the simulator. Data concerning table height selection, lean against table's edge, weight shifting, assembly units completed, and table movements was collected in addition to information concerning perception of discomfort. Results were mixed. The outcomes of table height selection and lean indicated that for these variables the simulator was a satisfactory model. However, for shifting, assembly task, and overall discomfort the simulator did not yield comparable outcomes to the pregnant condition. The results for table adjustment and finding a comfortable table height were less clear. Subjective measures reported as being accurately modeled were: breathing difficulties, obstructed movement, general fatigue, and body image. Actual or potential applications of this research include an increased understanding of the way that pregnant women interact with workspaces as well as an enhanced awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of physically modeling the pregnant condition.




Peters, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Industrial engineering|Womens studies|Occupational safety

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