Pregnancy is a wonderful time, but other people, specifically the little people in your life may not agree and leave you asking is it safe to carry my toddler around? Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean that your existing toddlers and children are going to understand that you may not be able to pick them up as often as you would like.
Can I Carry My Toddler While Pregnant? Not Recommended
Many moms will tell you that you should listen to your body, that you will know when to stop lifting your toddler or heavy groceries. Other mom’s will proudly tell you that they carried their toddler as well as an older child up stairs and back down again while balancing a cup of tea on their head at eight months pregnant. I jest, but in truth it does sometimes seem like a competition.
What About The Early Months
During the early months of pregnancy, you may not even realize that you are pregnant. You may have been picking up your toddler whenever needed. Even if you are pregnant, the question of can I carry my toddler may not have even crossed your mind as you have no bump yet, or its very small and not yet in the way. The truth is that the changes to your body begin early in pregnancy, and you are actually more susceptible to back injury from lifting heavy weights once you are pregnant, there is no weekly milestone that you reach where you must immediately stop.
My Doctor Says It’s OK
Everyone has a different opinion on lifting a toddler while pregnant. Some doctors will say its OK, others will say its not good for your body. While the chances of your placenta tearing and causing a miscarriage through heavy lifting are slight, you do risk back injury. If you have a high risk pregnancy, your doctor will go through the dangers with you, but for a normal, healthy pregnancy the reasons you should not carry your toddler are for spinal health rather than miscarriage fears.
What is Relaxin?
Relaxin is the hormone your body releases to soften your ligaments and smooth your muscles in preparation for the delivery of your baby. Relaxin starts being released in your first trimester. This means that almost from the time you are pregnant, your body’s joints relax and start to get a little wobbly. As your pregnancy progresses, you may find your walk gets a little wobbly or that you have joint pain. Your body is preparing for childbirth. If your joints are a little looser, you will find that you are more prone to injury. You may have been lifting your 30 pound toddler every day for the last three years, but think about your joints, think about yourself and encourage your little one to walk.
How Does A Back Injury Happen?
Every single time you pick up a heavy object, bend over or slouch in front of a computer you are putting stress on the individual components of your spine. Over time they wear out. Once they are worn out, you cannot replace them. The stress and pressure on your lower back when you lift something up will surprise you, and it is compounded as your pregnancy progresses and your posture changes due to the change in your center of gravity. You may not feel it today, but you’ll feel the damage in your later years.
Acute injury is when you tear or strain your muscles and immediately feel pain. You may also have the muscles in your back spasm because they have been overworked or strained. If you are pregnant, you do not want a back injury or strain. When you are giving birth this will add considerable discomfort to child birth.
But My Toddler Wont Walk
Toddlers are master manipulators. They want what they want, and if they don’t get it, they are not averse to creating a scene. Your health is much more important, remember that you only get one spine in this lifetime. Get creative about how you can have special time with your little one. Encourage them to sit on your lap, push them in a stroller, let them walk even though it will be considerably slower. Reward their independence with a sticker chart.
Your toddler will be ok. They truly do not need to be picked up all of the time once they can walk.
Other people do it.
Yes, you will have friends and relatives who claim to have carried toddlers and older children until well advanced in their pregnancy. Yes, other women will loftily tell you about how they worked in a physically demanding job until they were heavily pregnant. Yes, there are horror stories of mother-in-laws making snide comments about how lazy or uncaring you may be for not picking up your child.
When you ask other people “Can I Carry My Toddler?” they will invariably say yes. Mother Nature intended it. I did it. My sister did it. My Mom had twins and an 18 month old and did it. Ask for help. Your spine will thank you for it, and in a few months, once your toddler is used to being independent and walking, they will hardly remember they wanted to be carried and they will love their special time snuggling with you on the couch or on your lap.
There are Situations When I Must Carry My Toddler
If you must lift your toddler from time to time, bend your knees and try to keep your back straight. Flat shoes and back support products in pregnancy may help reduce the strain on your lower back.