Pink: Pregnancy is making me clumsy

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Pink, born Alecia Beth Moore, is pregnant with her first child with husband motocross racer Carey Hart. The 31-year-old has recently been Tweeting about her pregnancy- especially about how clumsy she feel:

i am the clumsiest i have ever been in my life. fell AGAIN today! i feel like my 92 yr old grammom in a shower with oil on my feet. #dumb

Pink is not alone in that feeling. “Pregnancy induced clumsiness” is a real phenomenon, and one of the chief complaints of pregnant women. And…there are actual physical reasons for it. First is the obvious change is body shape, which changes the center of gravity of a pregnant woman.

This picture shows the changes in a pregnant woman’s center of gravity over the course of pregnancy.  Women develop a more pronounced bend in the lower spine (called spinal lordosis) as opposed to men, which allows them to lean further backwards and stay in balance. Despite this, a pregnant woman’s  balance can still be uneasy, especially when climbing stairs, lifting or carrying a package or walking on uneven or slippery surfaces.

Secondly, during pregnancy a hormone called relaxin is released by the placenta. Relaxin  relaxes or loosens the ligaments in the body. This  allows the spinal lordosis to occur as well as  loosening the joints of the hands, arms, ankles and knees. It is believed that relaxin softens the softens pubic symphysis which widens the pubic bone and helps in labor.

Lastly, pregnancy is often accompanied by swelling (edema) of the hands and feet, making it more difficult to grasp onto objects. Swelling in the hands of pregnant women can also lead to carpel tunnel syndrome, which can cause tingling and numbness in the hands.

So, what can you do to survive pregnancy induced clumsiness?

  • Number 1- SLOW DOWN! Use extra caution as you move about. Use handrails on stairs, or walk close to the wall for support. This is especially important once your bump gets so big it is hard to see your feet.
  • Be especially careful in the tub or shower. Use handholds or rails if available. Make sure the floor of tub or shower is a non-skid surface.
  • Avoid slippery area rugs, and use caution going up and down stairways.
  • Wear good shoes and socks that are non-slip. Save the high heels for after your pregnancy.
  • Let others lift heavy objects. If you have to lift heavier objects (such as older siblings) remember to bend at the knees and use your legs to lift.
  • Avoid risky situations like climbing a ladder or standing on a chair.
  • Give yourself more time to get anywhere, you are more likely to trip and fall when you are hurrying.
  • Don’t pick up anything you don’t want to drop. Let someone else move your grandmother’s china or your favorite crystal vase.
Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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