Climbing Stairs During Early Pregnancy

If you are planning to become pregnant, or just recently found out you are pregnant congratulations are in order! If you are planning to keep up your normal exercise and activities during pregnancy, you may be wondering if climbing stairs during early pregnancy is safe. A little exercise and normal activities are fine in early pregnancy, but some activities carry risks.  Anyone that uses stairs at any time during pregnancy should pay attention to safety. This article will help you understand more about climbing stairs during early pregnancy and tips to help you stay safe.

Is Climbing Stairs During Early Pregnancy Safe?

Climbing stairs during early pregnancy is safe as long as you pay attention. The biggest risk with climbing stairs during pregnancy is falls. A fall in early pregnancy can lead to miscarriage and later in pregnancy can trigger early labor symptoms. The risk of falling early in pregnancy is less since the body’s center of gravity has not yet changed. The risk tends to increase as the abdomen enlarges and pregnancy progresses. This is due to many things including a changing center of gravity.

Precautions with Climbing Stairs During Early Pregnancy

Under normal circumstances, going up and down stairs in the early months of pregnancy is fine. If there are pregnancy complications or your doctor has advised otherwise, you may need to be extra careful. Here are some precautions to watch for:

  • Bleeding in early pregnancy
  • Threatened miscarriage (cramping, falling hormone levels)
  • High-risk pregnancy (diabetes, autoimmune disorders, etc.)
  • Previous history of miscarriage
  • Pregnancy in women over 35
  • Chronic dizziness
  • History of fainting
  • Multiple gestation (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Issues with blood pressure (high or too low)

If your doctor has ordered bed rest in early pregnancy for any reason whether listed above or not, climbing stairs should only be done if absolutely necessary. If your bedroom is on a second floor, you may need to have your doctor order a hospital bed for the first floor.

What About the Second or Third Trimester?

Climbing stairs anytime during early pregnancy or later in pregnancy is safe as long as you are careful. Use more caution in the second or third trimester because your center of gravity may be off. It is harder to maintain your balance when you have more weight in the front of your body. Use the following safety tips to make sure you stay safe.

Safety Tips for Using Stairs in Early Pregnancy

Any pregnant woman using the stairs in early pregnancy or the later months should use certain safety precautions to prevent strains or falls. Even healthy people can have accidents on stairs if they aren’t careful. The following safety tips can help prevent accidents:

  • Use handrails.  If you live in a two-story home or are in a place with stairs, always use the handrails and do not carry multiple items up the stairs in both arms. Always leave a free hand to hold on.
  • Use lighting. Turn stairwell lights on when going up and down. If you don’t have good lighting, now is the time to get some installed. It is very easy to miss a step when you cannot see going up and down stairs.
  • Make sure stairs are carpeted properly. Slipping and falling on stairs is common. Use good secure stair carpets or something similar to ensure proper foot traction.
  • Go slowly. Rushing up and down stairs increases the risk of accidents. Take your time when using stairs and look at the stairs when walking up and down.

Experiences of Other Moms

To help ease any worries, it is a good idea to go get checked if you do happen to fall down stairs in early pregnancy. Here are some stories of other pregnant moms who did take a tumble:

“At 26 weeks of pregnancy I slipped down 5 steps in my house. I called the nurse line and the triage nurse told me to monitor for any bleeding and cramping. The nurse reassured me that if I didn’t hit anywhere on my abdomen that the baby should be just fine. You may find your back and butt are sore, but the amniotic fluid provides some cushion for the baby when you fall.”

                                                                                                           --Katherine, 30 weeks pregnant

 “I missed a step going downstairs in my house and landed on my hands and knees. I hit the side of my abdomen and that really scared me. My husband took me to the emergency room and I started having some contractions. I was only 18 weeks pregnant and the cramping got pretty bad. They gave me a shot to calm my tummy down and kept me for a few days. No bleeding and the cramping stopped. My baby is now 3 months old, but if I hadn’t gone in to get checked out she may not be here today.”

                                                                                                              --Ashley, mom of 3 month old

What About Walking During Pregnancy?

As long as your doctor gives the okay, walking is perfect during pregnancy. Just like climbing stairs, caution needs to be taken while walking. You can spend a few minutes with slow warm up walking and progress to a brisk pace as tolerated. This helps prepare your body for labor and keeps you fit.

Helpful Tips for Walking During Pregnancy:

  • Warm up. Do a few gentle leg stretches and start off slowly.
  • Wear good shoes. To prevent slips and falls, wear good walking shoes with good support.
  • Drink extra fluids. Especially if it is hot outside. Your body needs more fluids when you are pregnant and you will lose fluids faster in pregnancy.
  • Slow down if you become winded. You should still be able to talk while you are walking. If you find yourself becoming winded, slow down your pace.

It is recommended that you walk at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week when you are pregnant. This will help your body adjust to all the changes, help oxygen reach all your organs and the baby more efficiently, and get your muscles ready for delivery.