Pregnancy Induced Clumsiness
Q: I've been dropping a lot of things lately. Is this
related to my pregnancy?
Dr.Moore: There is a mother I know who locked her
keys in the car, snapped off the rear-view mirror of her SUV while backing
out of the garage, shattered an antique bowl, was pulled over for making
a right turn on red, and accidentally locked her 2-year old in the car--and
it all happened during her 9th month!
Pregnancy-induced clumsiness or "PIC" as I call it, is a real
phenomena. Its basis stems from a combination of physical and emotional
factors, which increase as the pregnancy progresses
Two physical issues directly affect the agility and dexterity of the
pregnant woman. First, the obvious change that occurs in body size and
alteration of the center of gravity. Spinal lordosis (sway back) is
a natural mechanism that helps a woman carry her enlarging abdomen without
falling over. Still, her balance is uneasy– worse when climbing
stairs, lifting or carrying a package or walking on slippery or uneven
The placenta secretes a hormone called "relaxin" which relaxes
the ligaments in the body, allowing the lordosis to occur. It also loosens
the joints of the hands, arms, ankles and knees.
Edema and increased cellular water in hands and fingers can affect
your grip and sensory perception.
Add to this mix the psychological stressors of pregnancy. In a recent
issue of Science Journal, stress was shown to activate an enzyme in
the brain which impairs short-term memory and impairs decision making.
Of course it’s worse if you already have some little ones running
around. You have a recipe for potential disaster!
What can be done to survive P.I.C.?
Slow down. Be easy and don't push yourself too hard. Avoid rushing
and over-scheduling, especially in late 3rd trimester--this is even
more important for our moms aged 35 and older than for moms in the 20's.
Don't sweat the small stuff; try to prioritize the serious stuff (like
driving, and cooking), Control the "nesting" urges-- the feeling
of need to have everything perfect before the baby comes.
Not all clumsiness is P.I.C; true imbalance, especially when associated
with dizziness can have many medical etiologies, and should be discussed
with you ob/gyn or family physician.
VACCINE SHORTAGE REMINDER
Although flu vaccines are being rationed, there are many high-risk
groups that should receive the vaccine. More importantly, the ”household
contacts” of these high risk groups should also be vaccinated.
The high-risk groups are: children 6mos to 2yrs, 0 to 6mos, women who
plan a pregnancy (Nov to March–flu season), adults and children
with chronic health conditions, age over 65 yrs , health care workers
involved in direct patient care.
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Readers may send questions to this
email address. This column is for informational purposes
only and is not a substitute for professional or medical advice.
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