From making your home trip-proof to choosing comfortable shoes, we've got tips to minimize the risk of falling during pregnancy.
1. Trip-proof your home.
Your center of gravity is changing, which makes you more likely to lose your balance. Fortunately, your baby is well-protected inside the uterus, but a strong hit to the stomach could cause early labor. That’s why it’s important to eliminate hazards, such as electrical cords and throw rugs (if the rug isn’t nonskid, remove it or use a rug pad or doublesided tape underneath). Put additional lighting in dimly lit areas. In the bathroom, use a nonslip bath mat in the tub and keep the floor dry.
2. Always be aware of your surroundings.
A pet running across your path, cracks in the sidewalk outside, potholes, and a distracted step off a curb are all potential fall hazards. Watch your step carefully during icy, snowy, or rainy weather, and resist the urge to text while walking. Avoid elevated surfaces whenever possible; climbing up on ladders or chairs to reach something can be very different from when you weren’t pregnant. Take your time on stairs and hold on to the handrail.
3. Choose comfy shoes.
Now isn’t the time to rock 4-inch heels. The best picks for pregnancy are sneakers or flats. Get your feet measured to make sure you’re wearing the correct size. Your pre-pregnancy shoes may now be too small, which increases your risk for tripping.
4. Prevent dizziness.
You’re more prone to dehydration and overheating, and your blood sugar can drop if you don’t eat enough. Wear loose, light-colored clothing; drink enough water; and eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. Sometimes dizziness can strike because of low blood pressure. Once the uterus gets bigger, it can compress some of your main blood vessels, and you can get dizzy if you stand up too quickly. Change positions slowly in order to give your body a chance to adjust.
If you do fall, contact your doctor. You may be able to go on with your day if your baby is moving normally and you’re not in pain. However, if there’s any vaginal bleeding or your stomach got hit during the fall, call your physician and go to the hospital to make sure that you and your baby are okay.
Sources: James Hanna, D.P.M., spokesperson for the New York State Podiatric Medical Association; Joshua Holden, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center.