There are many things you should avoid when you become pregnant. Coffee, alcohol, and airborne contaminants are all commonly avoided during pregnancy, and studies support such behavior. Even the most common, everyday activity could negatively affect your baby, and you can’t be too careful. When your belly starts to get bigger and your baby starts really developing, you’ll probably have trouble lifting heavy items, and this is an activity you should add to the list of avoidances.

Studies show that women who lift heavy objects during their pregnancy put themselves and their baby at risk for serious problems. When you become pregnant, your body produces relaxin, which makes your ligaments and joints more loose and flexible than usual. While this is great for making room for your developing baby, it puts you at a higher risk for injury. You can easily strain your back during your pregnancy and even pull muscles. In addition to muscular risks, you could easily fall over by doing any heavy lifting during your pregnancy. Even if you’re picking up an item you’ve picked up a thousand times before, your center of gravity is off when a baby is in your belly, and you could lose your balance. Taking a spill while pregnant could lead to preterm labor or could have even worse outcomes on your little one.

If your occupation requires heavy lifting and you can’t take time off during the later part of your pregnancy, consider speaking with your boss about side jobs you can do while someone else takes over the physical labor. If you need to do heavy lifting in your personal life, make sure your family members are aware of the risks and ask them for a hand. Chances are, they’ll be happy to help.

If you absolutely must do any heavy lifting while you’re pregnant, make sure you practice safe lifting. Always bend from the knees when picking up a heavy object to protect your back from strain. Carry the heavy object as close to your body as possible, and don’t twist your torso with the item in hand. Twisting with the heavy object will put direct strain on your uterus. Your physical ability and strength prior to your pregnancy have nothing to do with it. No matter what kind of shape you’re in, try avoiding heavy lifting during your pregnancy to protect your body and that of your baby.

Source: Mette Juhl et al: Occupational Carrying Of Loads During Pregnancy And The Risk Of Fetal Loss. Occupational and Environmental Medicine Volume 68 pp. 13-14 2011

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