Can I Lift Heavy Things While Pregnant?

Whether you're grocery shopping, have a job that requires lifting or have a toddler who demands to be picked up, lifting certain objects is unavoidable during pregnancy. Knowing your limits is essential. Thinking carefully about how to lift objects and asking for help when necessary ensures that you don't injure yourself or put your baby at risk.

Stretch your back and rest after lifting things. Credit: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images


Not all pregnant women are created equal, so some will be able to safely lift items during pregnancy and others should leave the lifting to other people. Consider your medical history and any complications you've developed during pregnancy. Don't lift items that require any physical strain if you have a history of back problems or a weakened cervix. Lifting anything heavy also is out if you have a history of preterm labor or currently are in danger of preterm labor. Your doctor should tell you if you have any complications during your regular checkups.

Potential Dangers

Carrying your baby already puts a strain on your back. Lifting heavy items, or lifting any item incorrectly, raises your chances of injuring your back. Pulling a back muscle will leave you aching and miserable and make every movement painful. Carrying something heavy also can put you further off balance, increasing your risk of falling and hurting yourself and your baby. If you are at risk for pre-term labor, lifting even one heavy box can trigger contractions.

How Much to Lift

Even if you're perfectly healthy, you should not be hauling around furniture during your ninth month of pregnancy. Scale back on lifting heavy objects as your pregnancy advances. If you have no complications, you occasionally can lift items that weigh more than 50 pounds up until the 20th week of your pregnancy. It's generally safe to occasionally lift items that weigh between 25 and 50 pounds up until your 30th week. You should be able to safely lift items that weigh 25 pounds or less for the length of your pregnancy.

How to Lift

Your center of gravity changes when you're pregnant, so lifting heavy items incorrectly can be dangerous and painful. To lift safely, squat to pick up the item rather than bending at the waist. Push yourself back into a standing position using your legs and hold the item as close to your body as possible to reduce the strain on your back. Wearing a maternity band around your abdomen can give you more back support if your muscles are weak or your belly is protruding too far to make carrying items comfortable.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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