Is it safe to carry your toddler in pregnancy?

Heavy lifting isn’t advised during pregnancy, but what if you have a toddler?

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Lifting a toddler out of a cot or carrying them up the stairs is something most mums of young children do daily. However, heavy lifting isn’t advised during pregnancy and this can make everyday tasks difficult for mums who already have toddlers. 

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What we really want to know is, is any lifting safe, is there a safe way to do it, and how heavy is too heavy? Our experts reveal the answers.

The Expert View

GP Dr Rob Hicks says pregnant women should avoid carrying toddlers whenever possible, because heavy lifting puts pressure on the lower back. However, he knows that pregnant women with young children won’t be able avoid lifting completely.

“The reality is you don’t always have the choice, if you’re the one looking after a toddler who needs picking up or carrying around. If that’s the situation, then make sure you lift him correctly.”

The safest way to lift a toddler is by bending at the knees and keeping your back straight. It’s also important to make sure your legs and not your back are doing all the work, Dr Hicks says.

“Try to carry him for as little time as possible and always listen to your body. If something’s causing you pain, stop immediately.” 

The NHS also advises pregnant women to avoid lifting heavy objects, including toddlers. Staying away from lifting can help to avoid backache, a common problem in pregnancy.

The ligaments in the body naturally become softer as the body prepares for labour, and this can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis. This is one of the reasons why it is important to protect your back during pregnancy.

If you are looking after a toddler, try only to lift them when you have to. The NHS also recommends doing it safely by bending your knees and keeping your back straight.

Mums writing on our MFM forum say

“I must say that the heavy lifting thing is hard, Josh weighs 18lb 14oz – which isn’t light, but likes to be lifted up quite a lot – It’s a matter of just being careful I think…. This time round, I’m swimming with Josh, off to the local crazy soft play area 3 times a week … so rest is something I get very little! Mind you, he still has a morning and afternoon nap, so when he sleeps, I go to bed too!!” Mummy Ralph

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