Falling During Pregnancy – How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Baby
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When pregnant, every motion and movement can be cause for a pregnant mommy to worry. This is because we believe that the foetus and our bodies are much weaker than they actually are. For your baby to be harmed by a fall, it would first need to hurt you significantly. A small slip or bump against something doesn’t harm your child in the slightest.
Misconceptions About Falling While Pregnant
Falling can always seem scarier than it is. Here are some misconceptions about what a fall can do to you while pregnant.
Every fall can harm your baby’s mental development.
Your baby having a mental or learning disability can have numerous causes. No significant research points to a direct link between falling when pregnant and the development of any mental or emotional disabilities These conditions have a higher chance of being hereditary.
Any fall can kill a baby.
Similar to the development of your child, if the impact of the fall is minor, it won’t hurt your baby. Even with major falls, it takes an immense amount of trauma to cause a fatality.
Falling during pregnancy hinders natural delivery.
Unless the trauma caused by the fall is severe or intense enough to impact the baby’s position or physical structure, doctors won’t recommend a C-Section.
You need to worry only if you fall on your tummy.
Regardless of the position of your fall, the most significant factor you need to be on the lookout for is the impact strength of the fall. Falling on your tummy increases the risk of danger to the baby, but falling on your head or even falling on your buttocks while pregnant can impact the baby just as easily if the impact is strong enough.
Note: It is essential to monitor yourself after a fall, as you’re the best judge of your own body. If something feels unnatural, please contact your closest hospital immediately. Some falls can seem minor, but are, in fact, extremely serious.
Reasons for Falling Down in Pregnancy
There are numerous reasons you may experience a fall when you’re pregnant. Some of these are:
1. Shift in the Centre of Gravity
A shift in your centre of gravity is one of the leading causes for a fall when pregnant. This could be a result of a sudden imbalance created in your muscles due to rapid weight gain during the second and third trimesters. Pre-natal yoga and other exercises can help prepare your muscles for this shift in gravity. Talk to your doctor about what exercises are safe for you and which types of exercise can help you avoid a fall due to this reason.
2. Pregnancy Hormones
Pregnancy causes hormonal imbalances. Some of these hormones relax your joints and ligaments, which act as a form of support to the cervix during the pregnancy period. These joints stretch and relax, allowing the body to redistribute the weight around the pelvic region so your baby’s growth isn’t hindered and your joints don’t get damaged. This can cause the joints to relax too much, leading to a fall.
One of the most common side-effects of pregnancy, inflammation is considered a leading cause of falls during the second and third trimester. Pregnancy hormones can cause swelling throughout your body, particularly in your feet. This can lead to pain and a loss of balance, leading to a collapse.
4. Imbalanced Body Weight
When pregnant, your body rapidly gains weight, most of which is centred around the belly. This creates an imbalance in your body posture and weight distribution, and can lead to a fall. The imbalance in body weight strains certain muscles more than others which is why the overworked muscles tend to have a lot more fatigue and can crumble due to lack of support.
5. Low Blood Pressure And Sugar
A common condition when pregnant, fluctuations in blood sugar and blood pressure due to a weakened immune system and imbalance in hormones can cause severe dizziness and falls.
Can Slipping Harm the Baby?
The movement of the foetus is extremely well protected by numerous different layers that act by constricting movement, while also cushioning your child. Slipping isn’t considered dangerous unless the fall has the following signs of danger:
- The fall results in bleeding in any portion near the abdominal or vaginal region
- The fall results in excruciating pain
- The fall leads to a leak in amniotic fluid
- Foetal movements drop after the fall
If these signs are present immediately after a slip, please contact your primary care physician immediately.
Testing for Injury Due to Falling
In case you have suffered a significant fall that has indications of trauma, doctors may ask you to complete the following tests:
- An X-ray to check for broken bones
- An ultrasound to monitor the heartbeat of your child and check its position
- Blood tests to verify both the mother’s and baby’s health
- A routine urine sample to ensure pregnancy health
In some cases, you may be asked to spend a night at the hospital for observation, as symptoms that are delayed may manifest later.
Impact of Falling During Pregnancy
Here are a few factors to keep in mind when evaluating the severity of your fall and its possible repercussions.
1. The Position
It is important to remember that the issues that may arise when a pregnant woman falls on her stomach are different from if she falls on her knees while pregnant. Consult your doctor if the pain becomes too severe or other symptoms begin to manifest. Remember that you are at most risk if you fall flat on your tummy. While falling on your back or knees may hurt, the risk to your child is minimal, as long as the fall isn’t extreme.
2. The Mother’s Age
According to most doctors, women above the age of 35 who are pregnant have a higher chance of complications due to a fall. If you meet this criteria, we recommend you consult your medical consultant regardless of the manifestation of symptoms, for safety purposes.
3. The Surface
The surface you fall upon can have a major impact on how high the risk of complications is. If the surface is hard, the risk of your baby being hurt goes up. Falling on a hard surface doesn’t guarantee that your baby will be hurt.
Complications of Falling During Pregnancy
The complications of a fall increase or decrease, depending on how far along in the pregnancy you are when the fall takes place.
In First Trimester
During the first trimester of your pregnancy, the risk to your child is minimal. This is primarily because the fetus isn’t developed yet and is protected by a thick layer of the placenta. This, in combination with protection from the pelvic bone, ensures a lower risk to the child. If you have a major fall, lay down and rest. If you feel uncomfortable or are afraid of the impact of the fall, consult your physician.
In Second Trimester
The risk of danger is slightly higher in the second term of pregnancy. The uterus is not tucked into the pelvic region and is more exposed to the surface. This, however, doesn’t stop any of the other protective shields from functioning normally. The risk in this trimester is moderate, and medical advice should be sought if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Tenderness of the abdomen or uterus
- The presence of blood or spotting
- Unbearable pain
- The movement of the foetus is lowered significantly
- Contractions in the uterus
In Third Trimester
The risk of danger to the foetus is substantially higher in the third semester. The foetus is fully developed and upside down, where the head is closer to the vagina. The chances of the placenta that protects the baby being pulled off the uterine wall are much higher, which can increase the risk of severe damage to the baby. It is also recommended that you keep an eye out for leakage of amniotic fluid, which could be a sign of premature labour.
Precautions You Can Take to Prevent Accidents
Here are a few tips to help you avoid accidents during your pregnancy:
- When possible, use guardrails to support you while walking
- Ask for help and lean on your partner or friends and family
- Take breaks between activities and ensure you rest adequately to combat fatigue
- Soak your feet in warm water and rock salt to help alleviate muscular stress and combat inflammation
- Use anti-skid tape in bathrooms and other areas with wet flooring
- Avoid carrying heavy objects
- Stay attentive when walking
- Avoid stairs as much as possible
- Ask your partner to massage your feet to help relax muscles
- Get help, delegate the work that needs to be done, and don’t exert yourself
- Ensure you keep an eye on your blood sugar and blood pressure. Rest when it is low and munch on something to get it back up, before walking
It is important to remember that the risk of falling increases as you are further along in the pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about the signs you need to watch out for and how to avoid the risk of falling. Ensure you get adequate rest and rely on your loved ones when you cannot manage things by yourself. In case of a fall, consult your primary care physician, immediately. Ensure that you consult a doctor in the third trimester, even if there are no symptoms, as the risk of complications is much higher during this period.
References and Resources: Healthline