The objectives of this population based cohort study of 3997 women was to determine the incidence of falling and risk factors related to falls during pregnancy. Birth certificate data identified women who had delivered a child within the previous 2 months. Subjects were reached either by phone, internet or mailed surveys. The women were asked about health issues and activities at the time of the fall. Of the 3997 participants, 1070 reported falling at least once (27%) during their pregnancy. Of those 1070 35% fell two or more times, 20% sought medical care and 21% had two or more days of restricted activity. Women aged 20–24 years had an almost two fold risk of falling more than those over 35 years (odds ratio 1.9; 95% confidence interval 1.4, 2.7). Characteristics of falls included: indoors (56%), on stairs (39%) and falling from a height greater than three feet (9%) (not mutually exclusive). Though 27% of women fell while pregnant, 10% experienced two or more falls. Pregnant women should be aware of the risk factors of and situations related to falls. There is an urgent need for primary prevention in this high risk group.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Weiss, H. B. (1999). Pregnancy-associated injury hospitalizations in Pennsylvania, 1995. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 34, 626–636.
Williams, J. K., McClain, L., Rosemurgy, A. S., & Colorado, N. M. (1990). Evaluation of blunt abdominal trauma in the third trimester of pregnancy: Maternal and fetal considerations. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 75, 33–37.
Dyer, I., & Barclay, D. (1962). Accidental trauma complicating pregnancy and delivery. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 90, 7–929.
Rothenberger, D., Quattlebaum, F. W., Perry, J. F., Jr, Zabel, J., & Fischer, R. P. (1978). Blunt maternal trauma: A review of 103 cases. Journal of Trauma, 18, 173–179.
Pearlman, M. D. (1997). Motor vehicle crashes, pregnancy loss and preterm labor. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, 57, 127–132.
Greenblatt, J. F., Dannenberg, A. L., & Johnson, C. J. (1997). Incidence of hospitalized injuries among pregnant women in Maryland, 1979–1990. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 13, 374–379.
Pearlman, M. D., Tintinallli, J. E., & Lorenz, R. P. (1990). A prospective controlled study of outcome after trauma during pregnancy. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 162, 1502–1507; discussion 1507–1510.
Johnson, J. D., & Oakley, L. E. (1991). Managing minor trauma during pregnancy. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 20, 379–384.
Neufeld, J. D., Moore, E. E., Marx, J. A., & Rosen, P. (1987). Trauma in pregnancy. Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America, 5, 623–640.
Patterson, R. M. (1984). Trauma in pregnancy. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 27, 32–38.
Connolly, A. M., Katz, V. L., Bash, K. L., McMahon, M. J., & Hansen, W. F. (1997). Trauma and pregnancy. American Journal of Perinatology, 14, 331–336.
Crosby, W. M. (1983). Traumatic injuries during pregnancy. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 26, 902–912.
Buchsbaum, H. J. (1968). Accidental injury complicating pregnancy. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 102, 752–769.
Fildes, J., Reed, L., Jones, N., Martin, M., & Barrett, J. (1992). Trauma: The leading cause of maternal death. Journal of Trauma, 32, 643–645.
Karasek, R. A., Triantis, K. P., & Shaudhry, S. S. (1982). Coworker and supervisor support as medicators of association between characteristics and mental strain. Journal of Occupational Behavior, 3, 181–200.
Castillo, D., & Rodriguez, R. (1997). Follow-back study of oldest workers with emergency department-treated injuries. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 31, 609–618.
Department of Labor (U.S.). (1982). Bureau of labor statistics work injury report––falls from elevations. Appendix C survey questionnaire BLS 98E (pp. 17–20).
Harrel, F. (2001). Regression modeling strategies (p. 153). New York: Springer-Verlag.
Butler, E. E., Colon, I., Druzin, M. L., & Rose, J. (2006). Postural equilibrium during pregnancy: Decreased stability with an increased reliance on visual cues. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 195(4), 1104–1108.
Jang, J., Hsiao, K. T., & Hsiao-Wecksler, E. T. (2008). Balance (perceived and actual) and preferred stance width during pregnancy. Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 23(4), 468–476.
Bennett, T. A., Kotelchuck, M., Cox, C. E., Tucker, M. J., & Nadeau, D. A. (1998). Pregnancy-associated hospitalizations in the United States in 1991 and 1992: A comprehensive view of maternal morbidity. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 178, 346–354.
Weiss, H. B., Songer, T. J., & Fabio, A. (2001). Fetal deaths related to maternal injury. JAMA, 286, 1863–1868.
Nannini, A., Weiss, J., Goldstein, R., & Fogerty, S. (2002). Pregnancy-associated mortality at the end of the twentieth century: Massachusetts, 1990–1999. Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association, 57, 140–143.
Campbell, A. J., Borrie, M. J., Spears, G. F., Jackson, S. L., Brown, J. S., & Fitzgerald, J. L. (1990). Circumstances and consequences of falls experienced by a community population 70 years and over during a prospective study. Age and Ageing, 19, 136–141.
Tinetti, M. E., Speechley, M., & Ginter, S. F. (1988). Risk factors for falls among elderly persons living in the community. New England Journal of Medicine, 319, 1701–1707.
Hamilton County General Health District. (1999). Injury surveillance report. Cincinnati (Ohio).
Cokkinides, V. E., Coker, A. L., Sanderson, M., Addy, C., & Bethea, L. (1999). Physical violence during pregnancy: Maternal complications and birth outcomes. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 93, 661–666.
LeMasters, G. K., Lockey, J. E., Yiin, J. H., Hilbert, T. J., Levin, L. S., & Rice, C. H. (2003). Mortality of workers occupationally exposed to refractory ceramic fibers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 45(4), 440–450.
This research was funded by the National Institute of Occupational Health (Grant # OH 04042-02).
This work was done at the University of Cincinnati, Department of Environmental Health.
About this article
Cite this article
Dunning, K., LeMasters, G. & Bhattacharya, A. A Major Public Health Issue: The High Incidence of Falls During Pregnancy. Matern Child Health J 14, 720–725 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-009-0511-0