Patients who are pregnant for the first time often ask (and worry) about the following questions, but most of them ask about some questions about belly hurt in pregnant women:
- Am I supposed to feel the baby kick?
- Why can’t I sleep?
- Will an occasional glass of wine hurt the baby?
Talking to a doctor or another mother will also alleviate these fears. But one of the concerns of new and seasoned patients is whether hitting the tummy would harm the infant.
Almost always the answer is no. From performing daily chores at work to handling toddlers and rowdy pets, some abdominal contact is inevitable and generally harmless during pregnancy. One of the unusual exceptions is abdominal damage, such as being in a car accident.
We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions, including generally healthy behaviours, how to prevent abdominal injuries, and when to see a doctor.
How protected is the unborn baby in the womb?
Women’s bodies are generally not fragile. Throughout their pregnancies, women have traditionally worked hard on farms and in factories.
The uterus is a muscular organ that protects the baby from the pushing and bouncing that occurs during a normal day in the mother’s life. Your baby has cushioned from the impact of the most frequent abdominal contact thanks to the shock absorbers in the amniotic fluid and the weight you gain during pregnancy.
Abdominal damage is not the same as other types of injuries. Vehicle collisions, accidents, and over-lifting can all harm the baby. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of abdominal trauma, which we’ll cover below.
Safe activities involving abdominal touch
The activities mentioned below are generally healthy for women who are not carriers of a high-risk pregnancy.
Toddlers give big hugs
Nothing compares to the joy of a toddler running towards you and giving you a big hug. The strength of a 20- to 40-pound baby bumping into the abdomen is not enough to injure the baby in most cases. However, toddlers are unpredictable, and a hug can easily turn into flapping arms and legs, which can lead to abdominal injuries or a fall.
Consider demonstrating a safer hugging technique. “Mum loves it when you hug me!” you could tell. However, even though my stomach is swollen, please walk towards me so as not to hurt me.”
The extra love of pets
When you least expect it, dogs and cats will jump on you or fall to your lap. Animals under 40 pounds are unlikely to harm your child by skating or bouncing, but they can be a trip hazard. To avoid falling, make sure you have a clear view of your pet when entering a room.
Pets weighing over 40 pounds can jump or land with enough force to injure you or the baby. When you are away, teach the animal not to jump or have someone look after the pet.
House and yard work
While pregnant, it’s generally healthy to mow your lawn, garden, wash your car, and do other household chores (sorry you blew your blanket!).
With that in perspective, pay attention to your body. If you’re exhausted or sore, get some rest. To minimize the risk of falling, avoid climbing ladders or working on rough or slippery surfaces. Also, drink plenty of water and avoid lifting large objects.
When to exercise caution with abdominal trauma
Consider the suggested steps to protect your growing baby in the scenarios below.
While this is not necessarily related to tummy bumping, patients often wonder whether it is safe to lift babies, groceries, and objects at work during pregnancy.
Heavy, repetitive lifting movements have been linked to pregnancy loss, premature labour, and maternal injuries such as muscle pulling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that women in certain professions are at increased risk, including child care providers; Health workers; law enforcement officers; service workers; and teachers.
You don’t have to stop all lifting, but you can follow the recommendations of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). During the 20th week of pregnancy, most patients who are not at high risk will lift individuals or objects weighing up to 36 pounds on occasion. Lifting should be limited to 26 pounds starting in week 21. See your obstetrician/gynaecologist if your job requires you to lift more than recommended limits.
Women who lift regularly (daily or multiple times a week) can lift people or objects weighing up to 18 lbs during 20 weeks gestation and up to 13 lbs between 21 weeks and childbirth. If you are caring for a child or adult who exceeds these weight limits and needs to be lifted, talk to your doctor. Home resources are available to alleviate the burden of lifting during pregnancy.
After childbirth, during the postpartum period, follow the 21+ week guidelines until your provider allows you to resume regular activities.
Nesting, or the urge to get everything ready for the baby’s arrival, can give you a sense of energy and strength. But don’t give in to the urge to move furniture around yourself or pull heavy bins out of storage. Get help moving and unloading the baby’s belongings. You can still lead the project.
Drive or get in vehicles
The most common reason pregnant patients come to our office with abdominal injuries is due to car accidents. They also rubbed their stomachs against the steering wheel or strained against the seat belt to the point of leaving marks.
For safer driving or driving, wear your seat belt correctly. Adjust the belt low on your knees, under your stomach. Place the strap between your breasts, which will naturally move it to the side and away from your belly. To avoid serious injury or any pregnant belly hurt, ACOG recommends that you never put the shoulder strap under your arm or behind your back.
When driving, you may need to adjust your seat back as your belly grows to keep a comfortable length of the steering wheel.
If you’re in a car accident, no matter how small, see your doctor as soon as possible. Injuries that affect the baby or your internal organs may not cause immediate symptoms, and problems are best caught early on.
It is important to exercise during pregnancy, but you will likely need to make changes as the pregnancy progresses. Your balance will change as your abdomen grows, and the change will be more noticeable during exercise than during daily activities.
- On the treadmill: Position yourself towards the middle or back of the belt so you don’t bump your stomach against the console. Attach the emergency stop pulley in case you fall or have to stop suddenly.
- Lifting: Stop lifting with your back and limit the amount of weight you lift. Also, check your form; make sure you are balanced and protect your joints. Also, consider using a trimmer.
- Hot Yoga: Avoid this form of yoga during pregnancy. According to research, too much heat can be harmful to a baby. However, you are free to practice other forms of yoga during pregnancy; it’s a safe and enjoyable way to exercise every trimester.
When to contact your doctor
There are three scenarios in which you should call your doctor as soon as possible, however small they may seem at the time:
- You are in a car accident. Whether it’s a head-on collision or a flick in a parking lot – contact your doctor if you are involved in a traffic accident.
- You fall. Flat on your face, hard on your butt, like a turtle on your back – no matter where you land or what you hurt. If there is an impact, you must call your doctor.
- You receive an intentional blow to the stomach. There will always be rogue members stealing when you have a toddler, and that’s fine.
If you have mild abdominal tension or impact like the ones we described earlier (for example, your dog jumped on you or you lifted something heavy unexpectedly), you probably won’t need to call. or see your doctor.
You should always be on the lookout for any symptoms of concern, such as:
- vaginal bleeding or bloody discharge
- constant pain or cramping
- decreased fetal movement
If you notice any of these symptoms, call bump2baby’s doctor, regardless of the severity of the impact or strain on your stomach.