My wife and 2 year old daughter were getting out of the elevator at the mall when my daughter's hand was trapped in the sliding door of the elevator as it opened. My daughter suffered a cut on her palm that sliced off a part of her skin (about an inch and a half) and some bruising.

Our concern is that my wife is 12 weeks pregnant, and was really shocked and scared during the accident at the mall and she's afraid that it might affect the unborn child somehow.

We'll bring it up to the OBGYN but wanted to hear what you thought.


asked 21 Nov '09, 19:05

John's gravatar image

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edited 22 Nov '09, 04:12

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

There's no consensus on the actual effects of stress, sadness, etc. on pregnancy. Apparently, the evidence is conflicting.

However, if you're seriously worried, go to a doctor.


answered 21 Nov '09, 19:31

Dinah's gravatar image

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As Dinah said, you should go to the doctor, but I'll tell you what ours said when we asked him if we could travel by plane (also in the early stages of the pregnancy): If it was so easy to miscarriage there wouldn't be so many illegal abortions

The human body is stronger than we think, and it's specially designed to protect life


answered 21 Nov '09, 20:41

JJJ's gravatar image

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If you continue to be stressed out about this (in retrospect), by all means ask your doctor for reassurance. But really I don't think there's much reason to be concerned. I have no citation, but I will apply the following common sense:

It's very rare for any human, in any nine-month period, not to be hurt, shocked, scared, stressed, and emotional. SEVERAL TIMES. I don't think anybody makes it through pregnancy without multiple incidents like this, and our babies turn out just fine.

I'm not even sure if it's possible to prove in principle that a single event like this is harmful/harmless, since it would be virtually impossible to find a "control group" to whom no upsetting events happened during their entire pregnancy. Perhaps you could show that a mother undergoing repeated/continuous and very severe (much worse than a hand injury) stresses are harmful to a fetus, though if that were true, you'd expect a large portion of children who were in utero during war time or disasters to be damaged, which is clearly not the case.


answered 22 Nov '09, 01:02

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Here's info suggesting a link between a mother getting PTSD while pregnant (particulary 3rd trimester) and a biological (cortisol) reaction in the infant 1 year later:

(22 Nov '09, 01:17) Scott ♦♦

Igritz to most of your comments I agree. One event is unlikely to cause too much harm. However, there is evidence (albeit inconclusive in humans) that elevations in the stress hormone cortisol does significantly impact the fetus. . Is it some sort of obvious physical, emotional "damage" (I'm not a fan of that word anyway) unlikely; however, it is believed to be associated with children that are more sensitive, more anxious/fearful and more difficult to settle

(22 Nov '09, 01:20) Tammy ♦♦

I find it totally plausible that elevated cortisol can impact the fetus, and that clinical-level PTSD in the mother while pregnant can have a lasting impact. But my point is that a single very scary, but not life-threatening, event of the magnitude described is probably LESS stress than most people experience during the course of their pregnancy, and thus is really not something to lose sleep over.

(22 Nov '09, 04:47) lgritz

I don't know that there's an easy answer for your question. Everything affects the fetus, but does it have a lasting impact? Having gone through pregnancy 5 times, you can bet my wife has been subject to all sorts of shock and other unpleasant feelings.

We haven't noticed anything at all in our children that we could possibly attribute to the various issues during pregnancy.

However it may be useful to see a therapist anyway, because such an experience may leave your wife with continued feelings of helplessness and worry. If these go on long term they will most certainly affect not only the coming child, but your whole family.

If either of you have concerns, discuss them with your doctor and get a referral.


answered 22 Nov '09, 05:00

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Adam Davis
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Asked: 21 Nov '09, 19:05

Seen: 6,139 times

Last updated: 22 Nov '09, 05:00