Things that women do without thought ordinarily become matters of doubt and worry when pregnant – one of these is lifting while pregnant.
It is OK to lift heavy objects when pregnant? Is it OK to continue in jobs that require any lifting? Is it OK to do weight lifting in pregnancy? And if weights in pregnancy are OK, should the way of lifting things change?
There is no single answer when it comes to lifting during pregnancy. There are several factors to consider about how much and what is OK to lift when pregnant.
While it is generally thought to be OK to lift moderate weight items during pregnancy, or even lift a toddler there are reasons why very heavy lifting is not recommended in pregnancy, particularly in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
1. Later in pregnancy, with a big belly, a woman’s center of gravity changes, and this can make it difficult for her to lift loads safely.It becomes both difficult to lift and also increases chances of falling with the heavy load.
2. The other reason why heavy lifting while pregnant should be avoided is because of pregnancy hormones that soften ligaments and tendons as well as the body’s connective tissue, making a woman more prone to injury at this time.
When it comes to strenuous activities such as moving furniture or having a job that involves strenuous physical activity, if it has to be done, it is best done during the first trimester rather than later. Also it is important to do this while using proper support such as maternity belt, using correct posture and so on.
This is because later in the pregnancy the back is already under strain from the growing belly and child and pushing or lifting will just put an additional burden there. The best course of action would be to put off moving furniture until later or get someone else to do this for a while.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the posture used for lifting while pregnant. If anything is to be lifted from the ground, bend at the knees and not at the waist because doing so will put pressure on the back and cause strain.
Personal fitness levels cannot be discounted in this equation. Many women with stronger core muscles will find that they are able to do engage in strenuous activity and lifting without any kind of strain or aches and pains, while others find that they are quickly fatigued or that they tend to suffer a pulled muscle or a strained ligament more easily.
And what about weight lifting while pregnant?
Well the simple answer to this is that if you have never lifted weights before, pregnancy is most certainly not the time to start.
However women who have been lifting weights regularly before getting pregnant can continue to do so within reason – in general it is recommended that lighter weights be used, lunges be avoided, handling of weights should be done with care (so you don’t drop them on your belly), lifting should not be done while lying on the back, and certain kinds of forceful breathing such as the Valsalva maneuver should be avoided.