What Pregnant Women Should Do If They Fall

Pregnant woman getting an exam
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Many pregnant women will fall during pregnancy. You are not alone in the falling or in being clumsy. This is something that happens with a fair bit of frequency.

Why Do Pregnant Women Fall?

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 moves 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.

What Happens If You Fall

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, you would have to have been severely injured in the fall yourself. The old wive's tale about falling down to cause a miscarriage is not true.

That said if you fall there are precautions to take. Your doctor or midwife should be called, they may want you to come in to check the baby or calm your fears. In general, you should watch for bleeding and be sure to pay attention to the baby's movements through fetal kick counts.

"It was stupid really, like something out of a cartoon," remembers AJ. "I literally slipped on a toy at the top of the stairs. I hit every step on the way down with my tailbone. I actually thought, 'At least I'm not hitting my belly.' Then when I hit the bottom, my body turned and my belly rammed into the railing, enough to bruise me. It was mostly my pride that was hurt. I called the doctor and they told me that I was most likely fine but if I wanted to come in, they'd listen to the baby. I opted to wait at home unless something changed. At my appointment the next week, they said everything looked good."

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.

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Article Sources
  • Dunning, K., LeMasters, G., & Bhattacharya, A. (n.d.). A Major Public Health Issue: The High Incidence of Falls during Pregnancy. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2010;14(5):720-725.
  • Harms, R. (2015, January 15). Pregnancy week by week.