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Pregnancy fears: trips and accidents

Women often worry that if they fall over when they are pregnant, they may harm their baby, but what are the facts?


Posted: 24 June 2008
by Laura Lee Davies


Understandably, we are instinctively protective of our bumps when we are expecting. But your changing shape can affect your sense of balance, and hormonal changes affect simple tasks like you ability to hold things delicately, getting little headaches that leave you distracted, and so on.
Even when out and about, things like wearing a seatbelt seem even more important, even though we may have to learn how to comfortably wear it.
However, when you see old black and white movies where a leading lady loses her baby because she takes a dramatic fall down a flight of stairs, these don't reveal the whole truth of the situation - they just make good drama!

Falls in pregnancy
Most falls you might experience in pregnancy are simply down to you losing your balance because you are carrying more weight and are consequently slightly 'off kilter', tired, or when the bump is really big, can't exactly see what's in your path!
These kind of trips, stumbles and falls rarely affect your baby, even if they leave you a little bruised. Your uterus is an incredibly strong wall between your baby and the bashes and crashes beyond the womb, plus the amniotic fluid she is in will help with 'shock-absorption'. Remember, she is upside down, on her side, and in all kinds of positions you would NEVER put a baby in once they are born, over the nine months of pregnancy, so things are a little different inside you, yet perfectly safe!
If you have a serious fall, you will most likely go to hospital, where they will probably monitor the baby anyway, and where a scan can ensure that abruption (when the placenta comes away from the uterus wall) has not occurred. This is very rare, even when a woman has had quite a serious accident, but it can be checked for.
Things to look for as signs that you need to be checked out further: leaking blood or amniotic fluid from your vagina, noticing less fetal activity, or your tummy continuing to hurt for some time after the fall (ignoring minor pulls you might feel immediately afterwards, where you may have stretched yourself a little in your fall).

Making sure you are OK after a fall
Even with a minor fall, make sure you are OK afterwards. Try to have a sit down, take a break from what you were doing (on your way to work, shopping etc) and go for a cup of tea in a cafe if you are out, or the sofa at home.
It's easy to add worrying about a fall to your other pre-birth distractions, so if you do feel bruised or think you may have a sprain/fracture, speak to your midwife team straight away or go and get checked out at A&E.
If it was minor, just mention it during your next midwife check-up, so your team are aware of the situation.
Look out for hand and ankle swelling, as this might not be your skin and muscles getting over the trip, but something like oedema instead.


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