Moms are unsung weight lifters, routinely lifting and toting babies, toddlers, and preschoolers who can tip the scales at 50 pounds or more. But when you're pregnant, the need to hoist your older children can cause stress and fear. As Circle of Moms member Bethany P. says, "Everyone always says not to let the pregnant lady lift anything."
Jessica K., who is seven months pregnant, echos her concern: "I've always read and been told not to pick up anything over 25-30 pounds." She wonders if it's okay to continue to carry her toddler up the steps every night, which has long been part of their bedtime routine.
So what do other pregnant moms do, and where should you draw the line? Many moms, including Laura S. suggest that the warnings not to lift or exercise while pregnant are way out of proportion.* Says Laura: "Relax! A woman's body is designed in such a way to let us be active while pregnant. I actually was 8 weeks pregnant (didn't know at the time!) and spent 10 days backpacking in the Rockies! Talk about lifting heavy weight and stressful exercise!" Her feelings are supported by a new study, which suggests that pregnant moms can do moderate strength training, according to research published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.
So what should YOU do? Here are some tips to consider, offered by Circle of Moms members who've juggled both a belly and a toddler.
1. Lift safely
Many Circle of Moms members say that carrying your toddler is a natural thing for a pregnant woman to do and in most cases, not too much for her to handle, but that moms should take precautions. Krista E. puts it this way: "If pregnant women miscarried from picking up their toddlers, you'd have one hell of a lot of miscarriages out there. I think the key is to not overdo it, or to lift that much weight in a sudden, jerking motion. So if you pick up your toddler gently and carry him upstairs, your body is used to that and you're not straining anything. But if you tried to pick up something else of that weight and did it with a sudden jerk, or twisting a way that you shouldn't, then you could seriously hurt yourself."
2. Use common sense
Bethany P. says, "My advice is to just use your common sense - if it feels like strain I wouldn't do it - but you know your body best."
Several moms add that the key is to lift only what you can easily handle, and to avoid straining. "Don't overdo," says Circle of Moms member Lizette V., adding that the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are a particularly vulnerable time. "If possible, ask someone to come and help out."
"I'd lift as much as a little kid would weigh...[but] take breaks, even if you don't feel like you have to," Stacey S.
3. Listen to your body
Even if you can easily handle heavy weights "the worry factor might not be worth it," suggests Diane R. "I had to lift a washing machine up some stairs I strained my stomach and my back and all it caused me was pure worry that I had done something to hurt the baby," she says.
Rachalle T. says the key is listening to your body. "My first son was six months when I became pregnant with my second and I toted him around everywhere. When I gave birth he was up to 30 pounds and I was still picking him up and chasing him around. You should be fine. [But] if you feel funny at any point in time, I would just take a break."
4. Take extra precautions if you have pregnancy complications
If you've received specific warnings about lifting from your physician due to pregnancy complications, heed them. As frsuatrting as this sounds, it's often short-lived, as Brittany G. shares, "The only time I was told not to pick up my daughter was when I was on pelvic bed rest. I could sit down and help her climb on the couch then on my lap, but I couldn't pick her up. Once I got cleared of there being any cervical problems I was allowed to pick her up again."
Tara H. agrees: "My doctor told me flat out that unless there was a medical reason (pre-eclampsia, etc.) for me to have a limit on how much weight I was lifting then I was fine to lift anything I wanted. He said that basically I should use common sense. If it was difficult for me to carry around a 50-60 pound object when I wasn't pregnant, then it wasn't something I should do while I was pregnant."
5. Buoy yourself up
Laura S. sees the lighter side in the injunction against lifting for pregnant moms: "Definitely use the 'do not lift' rule when it suits you," she says. "Like I think there IS a rule that pregnant ladies can't take out the garbage! Haha!"
*The information in this article is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.