I'm pregnant and recently fell. Should I be worried?
Answer From Mary Marnach, M.D.
A fall during pregnancy isn't always cause for concern. You may have little to no injury after a fall. And if you aren't hurt, it's not likely your developing baby is hurt either. But sometimes, a fall can lead to more-serious problems.
Fortunately, a fetus is well protected in the uterus. The walls of the uterus are thick, strong muscles, and amniotic fluid serves as a cushion. During the early weeks of pregnancy, the uterus is tucked behind the pelvic bone. That offers extra safety. Falls during early pregnancy usually don't lead to injury for the fetus.
Falls that happen during the late second trimester and third trimester could be more harmful. That's especially true if you fall onto your belly, or if you hit your belly on something as you fall. That kind of fall may cause contractions or the loss of amniotic fluid. The placenta also could separate from the inner wall of the uterus. That condition is called placental abruption. And blood cells from the fetus might go into your bloodstream. The medical term for that is fetomaternal hemorrhage.
If you fall during the first trimester or the early part of the second trimester, talk with your healthcare professional about it. Describe the fall and explain any symptoms you have. If you fall after about 23 weeks of pregnancy, contact your healthcare professional right away. You may need to go in for a checkup.
Get emergency medical care if:
- You see blood or other fluid leaking from your vagina.
- You feel pain or tenderness in or around your uterus.
- You have contractions.
- You don't feel movement from the fetus.
Your healthcare team might run tests to make sure everything is OK. If you're at 23 weeks of pregnancy or beyond and you have contractions after a fall, you may need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours. This is so your healthcare team can make sure that you aren't going into early labor. Although it's rare, if a fall causes serious injury in the third trimester, an emergency C-section may be considered.
Dec. 05, 2023
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See more Expert Answers
- Kilpatrick SJ. Initial evaluation and management of major trauma in pregnancy. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 1, 2023.
- Walls RM, et al., eds. Trauma in pregnancy. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 10th ed. Elsevier; 2023. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 1, 2023.
- Wick MJ, ed. Healthy choices during pregnancy. In: Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. 2nd ed. Mayo Clinic; 2018.
- Lockwood CJ, et al., eds. Stillbirth. In: Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice. 9th ed. Elsevier; 2023. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 1, 2023.