can you really cause harm to a pregnancy by lifting something heavy — The Bump
3rd Trimester

can you really cause harm to a pregnancy by lifting something heavy

just once?

I haven't done this, but a pregnant friend of mine is nervous b/c she lifted something heavy and was worried that she may have caused something to go wrong.  She called her doctor and she's fine though.

I guess I'm sensitive on this topic b/c my first pregnancy was a m/c.  While I was still pg, my MIL told me not to lift anything heavy and I told her that I had lifted a heavy bag of dogfood but wasn't worried b/c a m/c caused by heavy lifting during early pregnancy is an old wives tale.  Her response was silence - which is what she does when she disagrees with me.  Then I miscarried.  She told me to be very, very careful next time.

Anyway... I guess if you're lifting heavy crap over and over it might be harmful, but just once?

Re: can you really cause harm to a pregnancy by lifting something heavy

  • I am certainly not a doctor and my doctor's opinion has actually been quite liberal on this matter ...she advised to just be careful but the "heavy lifting" applies to the third trimester in her opinion ...so now that I am in the 3rd tri I only lift things maybe 10lbs at most and try not to at all ...during the 1st and 2nd I also tried not to, just kept to a minimum completely ...I am curious to see what other doctor's opinions were also though
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  • The risk of carrying heavy items is that it causes you to bear down and put more pressure on your already stressed uterus and pelvic floor. It's possible that you could harm yourself lifting something just once but unless she's in pain I doubt she did. I just wouldn't make a habit out of it.
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  • I'm a nurse and I have to lift patients all day long and nothing has happened to me. If your friend doctor thought there was a reason to be concerned then they would have told her so. Also if the dr was concerned they would have given her a weight restriction on how much she can lift.
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  • i'd say it depends on your circumstances?  i was told by my dr not to lift anything around month 4 because of placenta previa...
  • All depending on how much it weights.

     I was told i can left things under 10 lbs by the doctor just watch how i pick it up. I came home from the store last week with a case of water and my BF got all upset about me bringing it inside, he said it is to heavy for me and he will do it.

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  • Lifting heavy things will not cause a miscarriage.  If you are spotting or something they suggest you take it easy and not lift heavy things until you can be assessed.  Not sure of the exact reason, but otherwise, miscarriages are generally not caused by anything that you have done.  Most healthy pregnant women can continue to lift what they normally would lift prior to being pregnant.  As your body releases relaxin, however, it becomes easier to be injured so you want to decrease the intensity of your exercises and what you lift, and you should not try to increase the amount you would normally be able to lift.  Your friend is fine, and you should not feel guilty.  I have tried to take it as easy as possible during this pregnancy, but working at a music store, I have had to lift keyboards and amplifiers from time to time.

     I am sorry for your loss.  I know how hard it is not to blame yourself.

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  • I carry my toddler, and lift my 7 yr old all the time.

    Like Hyfagal said - it puts more strain on the pelvic muscles, but there is no risk of going into labor or hurting the baby by lifting things if you have a low risk, normal pregnancy.

  • I lift my 37 lb child all the time.

    The risk is to you, not the baby, since our bodies are so stressed with the pregnancy now.

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  • imageJaylea:

    I lift my 37 lb child all the time.

    The risk is to you, not the baby, since our bodies are so stressed with the pregnancy now.

    I had the same thought - I have no choice but to lift my 25 pound 18 month old.  We can't possibly be expected to go through pregnancy and not lift our older children.

  • I am very, very bad about this.  I lift/carry my 40 pound SD pretty often.  I lift 48 pound bags of dog food when I'm at the grocery store.  I sling 50 pound bags of feed and have shoveled really heavy grain more than once.  (Whoa, does that scream, "Hi, I'm from Arkansas" or what?)  I've moved furniture as I've been "nesting". 

    Don't tell my doctor... or my husband.  DH gets mad when I try to do things for myself.  We have weekly fights about it, which usually end in me yelling "Don't baby me!" He worries; I do not.

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  • I haven't really changed my lifting activities - when I need something lifted, I lift it.  My doctor hasn't told me that I should be doing otherwise.
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  • imagekdodge423:
    imageJaylea:

    I lift my 37 lb child all the time.

    The risk is to you, not the baby, since our bodies are so stressed with the pregnancy now.

    Really? You see no harm to the fetus in a placental abruption? My aunt will beg to differ with you- she was helping move things (which she had no business helping with ever, let alone while pregnant) and ended up in the hospital that evening. It was a one time thing that caused it.

    Does it happen? Yes. All the time? No. But the risk is there, and it can cause a very real risk to your child. If you are not used to handling weight, then you shouldn't start while pregnant. I have lifted over 100 lbs this pregnancy, but that is a weight I am very used to and it is not a strain for me. For others it is and would be very much advised against.

     

    My OB said it's completely fine because I am used to it. If I never lifted anything above 5 lbs or had certain conditions (such as placenta previa), that would be different. However, as a healthy, active individual who has been lifting said child for the last 5 years, no there is no risk to me.

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  • I have a 27 lb toddler I have lifted since day one. Nothing has happened here and we all know I can't go the rest of the time without picking her up.. 
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  • I am a nanny and lift a 2 year old constantly. She fell asleep one day and I had to carry her around Old Navy looking for something her parents wanted me to get. She weighs like 30 lbs. I also had to move my couch one day (early in 3rd tri) because I saw millions of ants coming from underneath it. My mom got mad at me and said I shouldn't have moved it but it was bothering me so bad there was no way I could wait until DH got home. I have been fine with no issues...but I have dilated/effaced early so maybe that's why my doc told me to "take it easy" yesterday. I'm not good at taking it easy obviously!
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  • I think there's a  weight limit.  I have a 20 lb toddler that I have to pick up often.  I've always heard that it's fine if you're careful.  He's the only thing I lift.  I never move furniture or anything. 
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  • I lift my 32 lbs toddler everyday.  I try not to do it as often during the day as I used to, but I have to pick her up at least once per day.  There is no way I could go nine months without picking her up.
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  • imagekdodge423:
    imageJaylea:

    I lift my 37 lb child all the time.

    The risk is to you, not the baby, since our bodies are so stressed with the pregnancy now.

    Really? You see no harm to the fetus in a placental abruption? My aunt will beg to differ with you- she was helping move things (which she had no business helping with ever, let alone while pregnant) and ended up in the hospital that evening. It was a one time thing that caused it.

    Does it happen? Yes. All the time? No. But the risk is there, and it can cause a very real risk to your child. If you are not used to handling weight, then you shouldn't start while pregnant. I have lifted over 100 lbs this pregnancy, but that is a weight I am very used to and it is not a strain for me. For others it is and would be very much advised against.

     

    I'm with kdodge here.

    You don't need to be a drama queen about it, but we should all be careful not to strain ourselves.

    IMO, even wifes tales usually have some degree of validity to them. Obviously things like hanging a string over your belly to tell the gender is BS, but a lot of them have some amount of truth behind them. 

  • I've heard that the lifting "rules" are more about straining your back/joints from loosening ligaments.  I would do whatever my doctor told me though.  My OB personally said nothing about lifting at all. 
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