Postural balance and the risk of falling during pregnancy

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2016;29(10):1623-5. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2015.1057490. Epub 2015 Jul 27.


Pregnancy is a physiological process and many changes occur in a woman's body during pregnancy. These changes occur in all systems to varying degrees, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, genitourinary, and musculoskeletal systems. The hormonal, anatomical, and physiological changes occurring during pregnancy result in weight gain, decreased abdominal muscle strength and neuromuscular control, increased ligamentous laxity, and spinal lordosis. These alterations shift the centre of gravity of the body, altering the postural balance and increasing the risk of falls. Falls during pregnancy can cause maternal and foetal complications, such as maternal bone fractures, head injuries, internal haemorrhage, abruption placenta, rupture of the uterus and membranes, and occasionally maternal death or intrauterine foetal demise. Preventative strategies, such as physical exercise and the use of maternity support belts, can increase postural stability and reduce the risk of falls during pregnancy. This article reviews studies that have investigated changes in postural balance and risk of falling during pregnancy.

Keywords: Balance; fall; posture; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postural Balance*
  • Pregnancy / physiology*