Sometime about mid-way through my second pregnancy while attempting to drag my first child into the store, I had one of those oh-crap-moments where you realize you’re doing something you’ve been told pregnant ladies aren’t supposed to be doing. I was lifting my kid. No, you likely won’t find anything, anywhere that says, “Don’t lift your other children while pregnant,” but you likely already have heard that you shouldn’t be lifting heavy objects. My midwife actually specified not to lift anything over 10 pounds. Now even if you got pregnant like the day after you had your first child, your kid would still be over 10 pounds during your pregnancy. So, should you be lifting your other children while pregnant?
Examining the flow of logic:
Now, the thing is, logically if it’s true that pregnant women should not lift anything over 10 pounds, then you shouldn’t be lifting your other child if he or she exceeds 10 pounds. However, if the first fact is untrue the second becomes false as well. The question then becomes, is it true you should avoid heavy lifting while pregnant?
Heavy lifting while pregnant:
The reason this recommendation is made is not because lifting something heavier than 10 pounds, like say a toddler, is going to make your baby spontaneously abort. During pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, the body releases hormones that cause connective tissue to become more flexible. The intent is to help a watermelon-sized baby pass through your hips, but that same softening increases the risk of injury — especially to the back — when lifting heavy objects. Due to the de-balancing act your growing belly fruit also pulls on your body, pregnant women are also more likely to fall to begin with; adding heavy weight can increase that chance even more.
This is why pregnant women should avoid lifting unusually heavy weights if they normally don’t lift them. For example, someone who before pregnancy regularly picks the TV up and moves it about is less likely to get hurt lifting heavy objects while pregnant than someone who has trouble lifting two gallons of milk at the same time, because her body is already accustom to and capable of handling heavier loads.
The more accurate safety suggestion to pregnant women is to not exceed 20-25% of the weight they felt comfortable lifting before pregnancy. Meaning, if you could only lift 50 lbs. comfortably pre-impregnation, the 10 lb. limit is about right for you, but most of us multi-child moms can lift more than 50 lbs.
Coming to a conclusion:
So, if we alter the first logic with the amended truth we come to the conclusion that you can safely lift your other child or children while pregnant as long as you do so carefully, and the child is not exceptionally heavy. I know once my kids are not toddlers, the mom-ride ends whether I’m with sibling or not, so that’s at least one pregnancy worry knocked out.