Climbing Stairs During Pregnancy – Safe or Unsafe?

Pregnancy is an exciting time for a mother-to-be. It is important that a pregnant woman take extra care during her pregnancy so that her baby is safe, and one of the more obvious concerns women might have is whether it is safe to climb stairs. This article tells you everything you need to know about climbing stairs during this crucial period.


Is It Safe to Climb Stairs During Pregnancy?

A pregnant woman staring at a flight of stairs

As long as you are extremely careful, climbing stairs is safe during pregnancy. The biggest concern is slipping and getting hurt while walking up or down the stairs. Injuries sustained during pregnancy can be harmful to the foetus in several ways, which is why it is best to exercise caution.


Why Is Climbing Stairs Good During Pregnancy?

During a normal, healthy pregnancy, it is perfectly safe to climb stairs. Some of the benefits of climbing stairs during pregnancy are:

  • Lowers the Risk of Preeclampsia: According to some published studies, women who stay active during pregnancy and climb stairs have a lower risk of preeclampsia. This is a life-threatening condition where pregnant women develop high blood pressure, swelling in the hands and feet, and kidney problems.
  • Lowers Chances of Gestational Diabetes: It is said that climbing stairs during the first trimester can reduce the chances of developing gestational diabetes. This is a condition where blood sugar levels are too high, and the body is not able to process the increasing amount. 
  • Reduces Backaches and Constipation: Physical activities such as jogging, walking or climbing stairs during pregnancy can reduce the occurrence of backaches and constipation. They also help in reducing swelling and bloating. Climbing stairs can also improve the ability to cope with labour.

When to Avoid Climbing Stairs During Early Pregnancy

There are some circumstances during early pregnancy when climbing stairs should be avoided:

  • If you have had miscarriages previously. If you were wondering if climbing stairs can cause miscarriage, there is a possibility of it happening if you have a history of miscarriages.
  • If you experience bleeding or cramping
  • If you suffer from dizziness
  • If you are carrying multiples
  • If you have a lower placenta
  • If you have high or low blood pressure
  • If your doctor has advised bed rest

Why Is It Unsafe to Climb Stairs in the Latter Stages of Pregnancy?

Climbing stairs during the second or third trimester of pregnancy can be unsafe. Here are the reasons why:

  • Stumbling: If you stumble or slip while climbing stairs, it could cause you and your baby serious injuries.
  • Pressure on the Back: As your belly grows larger, you’re likely to begin feeling the pressure of the increasing weight. This can make you dizzy and pull you downwards when you’re going down the stairs.
  • Swollen Feet: If you have swollen feet during pregnancy, climbing stairs may put further pressure on your feet and increase the swelling.
  • Breathlessness: Climbing stairs can make you feel breathless. This can impact the foetus as the oxygen supply is reduced when you are breathless.
  • Loss of Balance: As your belly grows larger, the centre of gravity of your body shifts, making it harder to maintain your balance.

Precautions to Take While Climbing Stairs

Here are some precautions to ensure that you are safe and uninjured when climbing stairs:

  • Walk slowly: Climb the stairs slowly, at an even pace. Avoid rushing up or down the stairs, and take the stairs one at a time.
  • Use the Handrail: Make sure you hold the handrail with at least one of your hands for support. If you have heavy bags or luggage, get someone to help you carry them upstairs.
  • Lighting: Make sure the staircase is well lit so that you can avoid missteps and risk hurting yourself.
  • Watch out for Slippery Stairs: Do not attempt to climb wet or greasy stairs when pregnant, as you may slip and hurt yourself and your baby.
  • Do Not Wear Overflowing Clothes: If you wear overflowing dresses or sarees while climbing stairs during pregnancy, you may end up tripping over your dress and injuring yourself.
  • Be Careful on Carpeted Stairs: Make sure the carpet is not loose, or it may cause you to trip. Also, lift your feet high to avoid tripping over the carpet.

In a healthy pregnancy, it is safe and even beneficial to climb stairs. However, climbing stairs should be avoided if you have been advised by your doctor to not exert yourself physically. In the final trimester, it is best to avoid stairs as the risk of injuring yourself is higher.

Resources and References: Being the Parent