Fell Down Stairs / Pregnancy & Labor Risks

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
Two weeks ago (15 wks) I fell down a flight of 7 carpeted stairs carrying my 2 yr old son(26 lbs) to bed. The pain was so severe I couldn't speak or breath-became faint & nauseated. I ended up admitted to the hospital as I could not transfer or walk very well. The attending Dr thought I fractured my pelvis and they x-ray'd. He said I fractured my sacral joint. In hospital 6 days; I use a sacral brace when upright and no longer use a walker for transfers. I have gone back to work full time and remain on my anti-inflammatories & T3 for pain. My family doctor says there is no fracture though but he has not been too reliable in the past. The ultrasound they gave me in the hospital was to determine age of my baby prior to x-ray - my doctor said everything was fine. The fetal heart rate ranges 135-155, tendency towards the higher rate.

My concern/question is: even if it is not a fracture (or if it is - people make mistakes reading x-rays all the time), how will this impact my pregnancy and labor? Will the pain worsen when it is just starting to feel better? Will I be able to handle labor? Will I have to consider a C-section (because I do NOT want that option)? Can any of these risks harm my baby? My last pregnancy I had a placental abruption that my doctor missed - even though I kept telling her I was having pain. Could this happen again without warning because of this injury?

ANSWER

If you were abrupting, they would have figured that out when you were in the hospital, so no worries there. All this is happening early enough in the pregnancy so that even if there was a hairline break, it should be well-healed long before labor, so no worries there.

My concern is that no one told you that you are not allowed to carry your son when you are pregnant. Not only are you at risk for just such incidents, but your back is not designed to carry two children, and you could hurt it permanently. Besides that, it is not fair to your toddler to be carrying him, because once the baby is born, you will not be able to. I tell all my moms who have children that they need to figure out ways to care for them without carrying them or lifting them, *long* before the baby is born, so their toddler gets used to being as independent as s/he will need to be once the baby comes. Trying to teach a toddler to take care of itself with a baby in arms is not a plan IMHO.

--Cynthia, CNM. PhD.

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.