Physical Environment Factors Influencing Falls Among Women During Pregnancy



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The aim of this dissertation was to examine how physical environment features and attributes influence loss of balance and falls among women in their third trimester of pregnancy. Adopting a qualitative approach situated within ecological and dynamic systems theories, the study aimed to uncover patterns in the interplay between behaviors, intrinsic risk factors, and physical environment features related to falls. Data were collected through weekly interviews with 13 pregnant women in their third trimester, exploring real-world incidents of falls and near falls within their home environments. Findings revealed distinct sequences of affordances, encompassing applicable affordances to execute behaviors, dysfunctional affordances contributing to imbalance, and affordances used to prevent falls. The study also identified patterns linking specific behaviors like rising from furniture and environmental characteristics such as clutter and low furniture height to fall risks. While intrinsic factors could not be altered, modifications to create safer residential spaces are proposed, including closed furniture layouts, adequate lighting, and the inclusion of supportive features like grab bars. The research contributes to an enriched understanding of falls as complex systemic events shaped by multiple interacting constraints. It offers a foundation for future hypothesis testing as well as insights to guide the design of environments tailored to this population’s needs. Limitations are the potential for recall bias and limited generalizability. This dissertation makes essential theoretical and practical contributions regarding falls among women in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Embargo status: Restricted until 01/2027. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.



falls during pregnancy, falls among pregnant women, pregnancy-related falls, falls among the elderly