September 23 is Falls Prevention Awareness Day, and Intermountain TOSH physical therapist and athletic trainer gives pregnant moms seven simple ways to keep their balance
(PRUnderground) September 22nd, 2023
September 23 is Falls Prevention Awareness Day, and Intermountain Health experts are offering suggestions to prevent people from falling down and getting hurt — including pregnant women.
If pregnant women feel a little clumsy, they are not imagining it. During pregnancy there are a lot of changes to a mom’s body and body systems. There are changes in hormones, the body’s physiology, and anatomy. And those things naturally lead to a growing belly, weight gain, decreased abdominal muscle strength, a loosening of the ligaments and joints, and changes in the curvature of the spine.
All of these changes mean that when a person is pregnant, their center of gravity shifts, which affects their posture and their balance, which can increase the risk of falls. And falling during pregnancy can cause serious injuries to mom, baby, or pregnancy complications.
“A pregnant belly changes your center of mass. On top of that, your balance and coordination come from your core abdominal muscles, so as baby grows, the abdominals get stretched out, so the ability to use those muscles decreases. During pregnancy, your sense of balance and coordination are off and reaction time is delayed,” said Brittney Damaceno, a physical therapist at Intermountain Health’s Orthopedic Specialty Hospital.
A 2022 National Institutes of Health study found 27% of pregnant women experienced a fall during pregnancy. This is just about the same rate for women older than 70 years old who had a fall, which was 28%. Pregnant women are hospitalized 2.3 times more because of falling, compared with women of reproductive age. Falls account for approximately 24% of all hospitalizations due to injury during pregnancy.
Seven Simple Ways for Moms to Keep Their Balance During Pregnancy to Prevent Falls
- Practice good breathing
This not only regulates stress levels. It helps engage the core muscles. Breathe deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Lift the pelvic floor muscles as you exhale. Pelvic floor muscles are the same muscles you use to stop the flow of urine.
- Stay as active as possible during pregnancy
Use your muscles as much as possible and stay active. The more fit and active you stay, your balance will be better. Walking is really good exercise for pregnant moms. Other types of low-impact exercise, like swimming or water aerobics are great for pregnant moms. Avoid contact sports or sports where there is a risk of falling. Stay in tune and listen to your body to determine the appropriate level of exertion.
- Exhale with exertion
It may sound counter-intuitive, but blow out as you’re lifting weights or anything else. This helps protect the pressure around the baby and reduces the pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.
- Sit on a big exercise ball to improve balance and core stability. This is much easier and safer for pregnant women than trying to balance on an uneven surface.
- Wear appropriate shoes for the setting, especially if it’s rainy or slippery.
- Use a handrail when going downstairs. When you look down, your gaze can be blocked by a growing belly.
- Watch out for loose rugs on the floor and use nightlights to light the way in the dark for those middle of the night visits to the bathroom.
For more information to answer your pregnancy questions, visit intermountainhealth.org
About Intermountain Health
Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/news.
The post Intermountain Health Gives Seven Tips for Moms to Prevent Falls During Pregnancy first appeared on
Original Press Release.