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The pelvis rotates in the sagittal plane during daily activities. These rotations have a direct effect on the functional orientation of the acetabulum. The aim of this study was to quantify changes in pelvic tilt between different functional positions.Pre-operatively, pelvic tilt was measured in 1517 patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty (THA) in three functional positions - supine, standing and flexed seated (the moment when patients initiate rising from a seated position). Supine pelvic tilt was measured from CT scans, standing and flexed seated pelvic tilts were measured from standardised lateral radiographs. Anterior pelvic tilt was assigned a positive value.The mean pelvic tilt was 4.2° (-20.5° to 24.5°), -1.3° (-30.2° to 27.9°) and 0.6° (-42.0° to 41.3°) in the three positions, respectively. The mean sagittal pelvic rotation from supine to standing was -5.5° (-21.8° to 8.4°), from supine to flexed seated was -3.7° (-48.3° to 38.6°) and from standing to flexed seated was 1.8° (-51.8° to 39.5°). In 259 patients (17%), the extent of sagittal pelvic rotation could lead to functional malorientation of the acetabular component. Factoring in an intra-operative delivery error of ± 5° extends this risk to 51% of patients.Planning and measurement of the intended position of the acetabular component in the supine position may fail to predict clinically significant changes in its orientation during functional activities, as a consequence of individual pelvic kinematics. Optimal orientation is patient-specific and requires an evaluation of functional pelvic tilt pre-operatively.