Dizziness & falls in pregnancy

We share essential advice on preventing dizziness & falls in pregnancy
If you, like many women, feel that you're far less stable on your feet since you became pregnant you may also find yourself falling over more than usual. This can be really worrying as you not only have yourself to think about now but also your baby. So to help put your mind at ease we explain why you may find yourself stumbling more and whether this is likely to do any harm to baby.

Why do I keep tripping up?

While it is tempting to put this down to clumsiness there is actually a reason for your increasing tendency to trip. Firstly there's your changing centre of gravity; as your bump grows and you start to carry more weight out front you begin to hold yourself differently to accommodate. Your new position is however likely to be less stable and as a result you're more likely to lose your balance.

Then, there are your hormones; the relaxing that helps your body expand for your baby also loosens your ligaments and joints. This in turn can affect the way the ground feels under your feet and makes it harder to get your footing so that falls are more likely. Water retention in your legs, ankles and feet also contribute to this sensory confusion.

You're also more likely to experience dizziness while you're pregnant either because of low blood pressure or low blood sugar and this can sometimes send you tumbling too. If at any time you feel dizzy it's important that you stop what you're doing and sit or crouch down just in case you do black out.

Finally, there's busy bee syndrome; you're so busy getting on with life and preparing for the arrival of baby that you're a little less careful than usual. This too can make it more likely you'll fall.

Will my baby be ok?

Your baby is very well protected in your tummy so if you're not badly hurt yourself during a fall it's unlikely that your baby will be hurt either. When you take a tumble the fluid filled amniotic sac that your baby knows as home does a very good job of cushioning any impact and your pelvic bone and strong abdominal wall also help by minimise any movement. So, despite what old wives' tales have to say (and we all know how unreliable they are!) chances are that your baby will be completely unscathed if you take a fall sometime during your pregnancy.

Should I see a doctor

If you've only had a minor fall it's more than likely that your baby is completely fine too. However, if you're concerned, have a more serious fall or get a blow to the abdomen it is a good idea to call your doctor for a check-up just to be on the safe side as this will put your mind at rest if nothing else. If you experience any spotting, swelling, abdominal pain or unexpected contractions after a fall you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

What can I do to prevent falls?

While there is no way you can completely prevent yourself from falling over (short of crawling around on all fours all day... but that's not really practical!) there are a few things you can try to help minimise the risk.
  • Wear flat shoes - Your centre of gravity changes drastically during pregnancy and this in itself can be enough to put you off balance. Wearing high heels only makes this worse, as you're more unstable and more likely to fall. So, unless it's a really special occasion it can be a good idea to trade in your stilettos for comfortable flat shoes until your baby arrives.

  • Take your time - There's so much going on with your body during pregnancy that even getting up too quickly or simply rushing around can cause you to feel dizzy and faint. Learn to take your time, whether this be getting up from sitting, going up and down the stairs, getting out of the bath or just walking around.

  • Watch where you walk - It's a good idea to keep an eye on the ground when you're walking so you spot any cracks in the pavement or steps that could trip you up. As your balance won't be quite what it was before your pregnancy you're more likely to go right over if you do trip up.

  • Keep snacking - Low blood sugar can sometimes cause your head to spin so it's a good idea to graze on healthy snacks throughout the day to minimise your risk of taking a tumble.

Have you taken a fall since you became pregnant? Did you see the doctor just in case? Why not share your experiences and questions with us in the AskBaby forums.

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hi,before i even tested for pregnancy i fell aand i told my friend it was a sign that i was pregnant.after 4weeks i took a test a it came out positive,now i understand the balance part oof the pregnancy.
by owame 20th Jun 2013, 3:41pm
I am 28 weeks pregnant and 18 years old. When I was around 23 or 24 weeks pregnant, I tripped over my partner's cat on his stairs and fell down half a flight of stairs, landing on a wooden floor at the bottom, on my back! - This, was VERY painful! I went to A&E to get checked over and to make sure the baby was ok, as I hadn't felt him kick since my fall (yes, him - its a boy!!). Everything was fine, thank god, and my pregnancy is otherwise going well.

But if I hadn't turned round as I fell, and landed on my front instead, I could have lost my baby boy and potentially broken my ribs, hips, back, neck, arms and legs. I don't know how I came out of it with nothing but a sprained ankle, sprained wrist and a bit of whiplash.

Please, everyone be careful on the stairs!! I don't want anyone to have the problems I nearly had.
by emdete 27th Apr 2009, 9:40am