In my second trimester, I had the unfortunate experience of falling and hitting my bump on a concrete curb on my driveway. It was the scariest moment of my pregnancy, as I feared my twins might be injured by the fall. I got up with no concerns, and was able to walk back into my house, although visibly shaken and crying at my kitchen table (Yes, it is okay to cry, it is scary). The first thing going through my head was, what do I do now?
Why might you fall during pregnancy?
In the busy hustle of day-to-day life it is easy for moms-to-be to forget the new physical limitations that come with being pregnant. The hormone relaxin can be to blame for a lot of imbalance experienced. Relaxin helps to soften ligaments in your pelvis to make space for your growing baby, but it also impacts all other ligaments in your body. Relaxin also softens ligaments in your legs, it can cause a more loose and unbalanced feeling potentially leading to falls or injuries.
Another cause of change in balance is your changing body structure and weight gain in your abdomen. As your bump grows this alters your centre of gravity once again putting you off balance. This especially becomes apparent in the second trimester when you really start to “pop”.
If you are anything like myself, another cause of balance concerns is prenatal anemia. With the growing demand for your body to produce more blood volume (up to 40-50% what you normally have circulating in your body), it is sometimes difficult for your body to produce enough red blood cells. Your doctor may reference having “low hemoglobin”, hemoglobin is an important part in a red blood cell and refers to your bodies oxygen carrying ability. My hemoglobin became very low in my second trimester causing feelings of dizziness and fatigue contributing to my fall.
What to do if you fall?
First things first, check your limbs and belly ensure you don’t have any injuries that need immediate medical attention, such as broken bones or large amounts of bleeding. Also, check to ensure that you did not have any spotting or bleeding from your vagina, as this can also be a cause for immediate concern. I did not have any of these symptoms, so what to do now?
Second, I called my family doctors office which was unfortunately closed. They are generally best to guide you to if they feel you need additional medical attention. Since I was unable to talk to them, I called the on-call health line (Telehealth Ontario) spoke with a registered nurse, explained the situation and my symptoms. She gave me advice on what to do next. She recommended I go to the hospital, but it was unnecessary to go to the ER. She directed me to a labour and delivery floor where they could assess the babies and my health to ensure there was no injury that needed immediate attention.
Third, I went to the hospital labour and delivery floor with my husband. The nurses were wonderful. They put the fetal monitors on both babies, and monitored the babies for 4 hours post fall to ensure there was no change in fetal heart rate, which could indicate injury to the babies. I was fortunate that the babies did not develop any concerns over the 4 hours of monitoring. The nurses also checked my blood work, where they discovered I was anemic and needed iron supplementation. I received a Win Ro shot due to being blood type O- as a precaution just in case I developed any bleeding afterwards. I was then able to go home reassured that the babies were okay. The staff advised me that if I develop any bleeding, cramping, or excessive pain to come back to the hospital.
When I returned home, I was still understandably shaken. I took the evening to take care of myself, relax, and remind myself that accidents happen. It may seem hard at the time not to blame yourself for falling, but with reassurance from my husband I was able to accept it was an accident and everything would be okay.