Pregnant women should generally avoid heavy lifting during their pregnancies. While it might be easy to let someone else handle carrying the groceries, it's much harder to turn down a sweet toddler who wants to climb into your arms. Your doctor can give you specific recommendations for your particular pregnancy, but you should understand the general guidelines for lifting during pregnancy.
In most cases, you can carry your 30-lbs.-or-less toddler until it starts to get uncomfortable to do so. This generally occurs around the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy for most women, explains Dr. Mary Lake Polan on the BabyCenter website. It's usually safe for pregnant women to lift up to 30 lbs. during pregnancy — and most toddlers fall into that category. Once you enter your third trimester, you should limit how often you lift your toddler.
When you're pregnant, your body steps up its production of relaxin, producing up to 10 times its normal level of the joint-loosening hormone, explains ob-gyn Marra Francis in "Parents" magazine. This increased production gets your pelvis ready to expand during childbirth. Because relaxin relaxes all the joints in your body, you might experience joint pain and inflammation when you put pressure on your joints. Your expanding stomach also causes your body's center of gravity to shift, increasing the amount of pressure on your lower back and making you more susceptible to falls. Both these factors can make it harder to lift your toddler without injuring yourself.
When you do lift your toddler, use proper lifting techniques to avoid injuring yourself. Bend from the knees to pick up your toddler. Lift her by straightening your knees, keeping your back straight and using your legs to do the work of lifting. Avoid making sudden or jerky movements when you're lifting, since these kinds of movements can cause you to fall. And move slowly -- increased pregnancy blood flow may make you feel dizzy or lightheaded when you stand up suddenly, warns ob-gyn Laurie C. Zephyrin on BabyCenter.
It's easier to give up lifting other toddlers than your own child. Fortunately, there are other ways to show your child affection if you can't pick him up because you're too uncomfortable or because your doctor advises against it. Instead of carrying your toddler, encourage him to hold your hand or use a stroller when you're walking, and make sure you give your child plenty of cuddles on your lap or while he's sitting beside you on a couch or chair.