Feeling less gazelle-like, more bull-in-a-china-shop now that you’re pregnant? Don’t worry — even gazelles might have trouble living up to their graceful images when they’re expecting. That’s because pregnancy clumsiness is as real (and, unfortunately, as plain for everybody to see) as that growing belly of yours. And though the symptom may seem random, there’s actually biology and physics behind your newfound tendency to slip, trip, drop, and plop.
WHAT CAUSES IT
Your unintentional slapstick act is a temporary side effect caused by several factors:
- Your belly’s throwing you off.
Your burgeoning baby bump has shifted your centre of gravity, throwing your balance off-kilter. This uneasiness in balance (whether conscious or not) is most apparent when you’re climbing a flight of stairs, walking on a slippery surface (something you really shouldn’t be doing anyway), or carrying something heavy (ditto). Not being able to see past your belly to your feet can also make trips a lot easier to do.
- Your hormones are playing tricks on you.
Hormones that loosen your joints and ligaments and cause you to retain extra fluids cause carpal tunnel syndrome, which makes your grasp on objects less firm and sure.
- You’re exhausted.
Pregnancy fatigue can make it easier to both trip and drop when you’re too tired to notice the box your husband left in the middle of the living room floor.
- You’re forgetful.
Pregnancy brain can also give you a leg up (and down) on clumsiness, making it likely that not only will you forget where you left the keys – but that when you actually find them, you’ll keep on dropping them.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Though the simplest day-to-day tasks might seem as tough as a Balanchine leap, most pregnancy clumsiness is just annoying. Falls, however, can be a more serious matter — which is why “caution” should be your middle name when you’re expecting. If you notice that you’re also dizzy or have blurred vision, however, it’s time to talk to your practitioner.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT
- Proceed with care.
Slow down, use extra caution in the shower or when it’s icy outside, don’t wear slippery soles or socks without shoes, make sure your area rugs aren’t slippery, keep hallways and stairs clear of objects that might trip you up, and don’t stand on any chairs (no matter what you need to reach).
- Don’t pick up what you don’t want to drop.
The clumsies will be with you for a while, so leave your favourite crystal on the shelf for the duration and let someone else load and unload the dishwasher (especially when the good china’s involved).
- Try to have a sense of humour.
When else can you make a one-woman show just by showing up? If you can let everyone else have a giggle at it, chances are you’ll feel better equipped to deal with that extra set of thumbs and those two left feet you suddenly feel you’re sporting.