How Pregnant Women Can Recover If They Fall

Pregnant woman getting an exam
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Many pregnant women will fall during pregnancy. In fact, according to one study, nearly 30% of the women polled had fallen at least once in their pregnancy. Consequently, you are not alone when it comes to falling or being clumsy. This is something that happens with a fair bit of frequency.

Why Falls Happen

Sometimes it's simply a matter of a change in the center of gravity. This happens at about the fourth month of pregnancy. Sometimes you may just be a bit more clumsy while pregnant because of the weight gain, protruding pregnant belly, or because of the softening of ligaments and joints due to the hormone relaxin.

All of this combined makes for the perfect recipe when it comes to falling in pregnancy. The good news is that you can help decrease falls with a few simple steps:

  • Wear sensible shoes. If it's raining or snowy, don't wear slick flats. This also means that teetering on high heels may not be the wisest move if you're feeling unstable.
  • Go more slowly. Avoiding sudden movements and just slowing down, in general, is a great way to increase your safety and decrease falls.
  • Avoid twisting and turning. When possible, directly face an object you're reaching for and avoid shortcuts to grabbing things. This will help you keep your balance.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings. Watch out for things on the ground that may trip you. Since you can't look at your feet because of your belly, look ahead a foot or so to help notice what's on the ground. Don't trip over kid toys, rocks, or things on the sidewalk simply because you didn't see them.

Potential Impact

If you fall when you are pregnant, the amniotic sac which contains fluid will act as a protective barrier for your baby. To truly hurt your baby in a fall, particularly in the first trimester, you would have to have been severely injured in the fall yourself. The old wives' tale about falling down being the cause of a miscarriage is not true.

Trauma directly to the abdomen, especially later in pregnancy, can be harmful to the baby. The risk of injury to the baby during a fall is greater in the third trimester.

If you do fall, take precautions. Call your doctor or midwife. They may want you to come in to check on the baby or calm your fears. In general, you should watch for bleeding and pay attention to the baby's movements through fetal kick counts.

Also, be on the lookout for an increase in contractions or any abdominal pain. Especially if you are in your third trimester, and/or you had a hard fall, your health care provider may want to monitor the baby for a short while.  

A Word From Verywell

Luckily, for the most part, falls during pregnancy do will not impact your baby. If you have any questions be sure to call your midwife or doctor. They are there to answer your questions and calm your fears, even between visits.

3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Dunning K, Lemasters G, Bhattacharya A. A major public health issue: the high incidence of falls during pregnancy. Matern Child Health J. 2010;14(5):720-725. doi:10.1007/s10995-009-0511-0

  2. Brewin D, Naninni A. Women's perspectives on falls and fall prevention during pregnancy. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2014;39(5):300-5. doi:10.1097/NMC.0000000000000064

  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Pregnancy trauma.

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.