Pregnant women are always concerned whether and how much they can lift. If it's at work or at home.

There is not much solid data on whether and how much women can lift during pregnancy. Some studies have suggested an increased risk in preterm delivery in women working jobs that require high exertion, such as heavy manual lifting. Another study suggested frequent lifting of heavy objects by women who didn’t work outside the home (but not by women who lifted at their jobs) led to obstetric complications!

Unfortunately, doctors are as confused as their pregnant patients and often make recommendations that have not much basis in science. 

A common recommendation is to not lift objects heavier than 20 pounds during pregnancy. But that fails to take into account the many different factors that may or may not impact the lift:

  • How often is the woman lifting these objects?
  • is it over an hour or less?
  • Is she lifting objects from the floor?
  • How high are the objects lifted?
  • How advanced is her pregnancy?
  • How solid are the weights?

Each of these factors could make a difference. If they’re not carefully considered, women might be restricted from certain types of lifting that aren’t actually dangerous, at least not at her stage of pregnancy. And the restriction might prevent her from performing crucial parts of her job.

Guideline to lifting during pregnancy