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Can Falling During Pregnancy Cause a Miscarriage?


Updated June 01, 2014

Question: Can Falling During Pregnancy Cause a Miscarriage?

Occasionally in a movie or a TV show, a newly pregnant woman will fall down the stairs and then have a miscarriage. How often does this happen in real life?


The answer is not often at all in the first trimester. In early pregnancy, the uterus is low in the pelvis and very well protected by the mother's pelvic bones. In the first trimester, falling down stairs during pregnancy or experiencing a similar physical trauma would be unlikely to affect the baby or the placenta.

After the first trimester, as the pregnancy progresses and the uterus grows larger, though, there is a risk that a car accident or a fall down the stairs could either harm the baby or damage the placenta and lead to a miscarriage or stillbirth. If you are pregnant in the second or third trimester and have taken any kind of a fall or have been in a car accident (even a minor one), you should call your doctor to determine whether you need to come in for a checkup. If you have abdominal or back pain and cramping or bleeding after a fall during pregnancy, car accident or other injury, call your doctor immediately or go straight to the emergency room.

Due to the risk of falling or otherwise injuring the abdominal region, it also makes sense to avoid sports, such as ice hockey and downhill skiing, during mid-to-late pregnancy.


Agnoli, Francis L. and Mark E. Deutchman, "Trauma in pregnancy." Journal of Family Practice Dec 1993. Accessed 3 Aug 2008.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "ACOG Education Pamphlet AP119 - Exercise During Pregnancy." Jun 2003. Accessed 3 Aug 2008.

El-Kady, D., W.M. Gilbert, J. Anderson, B. Danielsen, D. Towner, and L.H. Smith, "Trauma during pregnancy: an analysis of maternal and fetal outcomes in a large population." American Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology Jun 2004. Accessed 3 Aug 2008.

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