You shouldn’t lift anything heavy when you are pregnant – that’s a common word of caution tossed at expecting mothers. While it is nice to have someone else volunteer to carry your entire load for you at all times, it can also seem somewhat limiting to women who are used to doing all their daily chores by themselves.
And what if you are all by yourself and need a bucket of water to be moved from one place to another or a carton full of books removed from a shelf? What if you have a toddler or preschooler at home who wants to be carried by mama every now and then? Would you jeopardise your baby’s health and your own as a corollary of weight lifting during pregnancy? Also, how heavy is too heavy for a pregnant woman? Let’s find out:
The first question that comes to mind when people tell you not to lift anything too heavy during pregnancy is: ‘how much is too heavy?’
Now, there is no exact figure on the amount of weight a woman can safely lift while pregnant. The answer to this question depends on a lot of variables such as your medical history, any pregnancy-related medical conditions, and your body weight. So, your doctor is the only one who can give you an exact figure depending on your personal circumstances.
As a general rule of thumb, an otherwise healthy pregnant woman can lift objects weighing 10 kg or less without any potential risk to herself or her unborn baby. Yes, even lifting that kind of weight can be uncomfortable when you are pregnant but it won’t be a safety concern.
Women are advised against weight lifting during pregnancy as the changes in their bodies can make this exercise immensely uncomfortable and also pose a risk of accidents and injuries.
Some of the top risks associated with lifting weight during pregnancy include:
• During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin that can make lifting even the slightest of weight physically uncomfortable and painful.
• Lifting anything too heavy can aggravate the cramping or the feeling of your muscles being stretched as your uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby.
• As your pregnancy advances, your hip joints loosen up as part of your body’s preparation for the process of childbirth. This loosening up of joints can affect the dexterity of the gait, making you more prone to slipping and tripping; and having extra weight added to your already large body frame doesn’t exactly bode well.
Should you have to lift some amount of weight while pregnant, you can minimise the discomfort of the experience by following some basic safety techniques. You must always bend at the knees, and not the waist when picking up a heavy object.
Keep your back as upright as possible when lifting an object off the ground and your feet firmly placed on an even surface where there is no risk of imbalance or tripping. Once you have secured the object that needs to be lifted, stand back up slowly and smoothly. Any jerks or sudden movements must be avoided at all costs.
If you have an older child at home who demands to be carried by you, ask them to climb up on a bed or couch and then carry them in your arms instead of trying to lift them off the ground, as the latter course of action can cause significant strain on your back.
Under no circumstances should you exceed the permissible 10-kg limit when it comes to weight lifting during pregnancy, even if you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your doctor.
Also read: Do’s and Don’ts of Pregnancy#pregnancymustknow