When you’re pregnant, it feels like there’s a long laundry list of dos and don’ts — from what you’re allowed to eat, to what you’re allowed to put on your body, to how much or how little exercise you need. You begin to feel more like a vessel than a human, because it feels like everything you do will somehow affect your baby. With exertion, you may feel like you don’t want to jostle your baby too much, so you may be wondering — is it safe to pick up your kids when you’re pregnant? Being pregnant doesn't exactly give you a free pass to lifting a sleeping toddler out of the carseat.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, women who are at risk for premature labor may need to stop lifting objects after the first trimester, but, like most situations, you should discuss that with your doctor. So what do you do if your kid wants you to hold them in Target while you're picking out maternity clothes?
Dr. Kurt Martinuzzi, OB-GYN at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta tells Romper, "Women who are in occupations that require heavy lifting are at increased risk of preterm labor, however, lifting children during pregnancy is perfectly safe."
Deena Blumenfeld, childbirth educator at Shining Light Prenatal Education, agrees. "As long as your doctor hasn’t given you any restrictions on lifting or exercise, you should be fine to lift your older children," she tells Romper in an email.
As far as weight limits go, Martinuzzi says that for women who do a lot of heavy lifting at work, doctors typically suggest a 25 pound cutoff, however, "I have some healthy, strong patients that continue to do Crossfit throughout their pregnancy," he notes.
Blumenfield and Martinuzzi both agree that the downside of lifting a child if they are too heavy is the same whether you’re pregnant or not. You can still strain your back, neck, or shoulders. The American Pregnancy Association warned that because your hip joints are loosening to help prepare for your baby, you should be aware of how your body is changing, and you should exercise caution.
Martinuzzi offered a few tips to safely lift your children, as well. "If they’re old enough, sit and have them climb up on you. Otherwise, try to keep your back straight and lift with your legs," he recommends. "Easier said than done when you’re near your due date."
Blumenfeld agrees and says, "As with any heavy lifting, using your knees and legs will be much easier and safer than lifting with your back."
For lifting precautions for after the baby is born, Martinuzzi also mentions to be careful after you’ve had a C-section. "If you’ve had a C-section, we’d like you to take six weeks to recover," he says. "You can lift your newborn, but not the 2-year-old, for the first six weeks."
Remember, it’s always OK to ask for help while you’re pregnant, and if you feel a little wobbly on your feet from your hips relaxing and your center of gravity being thrown off, definitely don’t push yourself too hard. You don’t want to take a fall while you’re pregnant (especially while holding your child), but it should be safe to lift your own kids (as long as they aren’t going off to college next year).
If you’re already super physically fit and doing Crossfit, it seems like you don’t necessarily have to retire those huge tires and barbells when you get pregnant. Just know your limits and listen to your body. If you have any concerns, always ask your doctor.