Doctors assign arbitrary "weight lifting restriction" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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With my first pregnancy, when I went to my first appointment, they gave me a list of "dos" and "do nots". One of the things on the list was, "Do not push, pull, or lift more than 20-25 lbs." This was the standard sheet for a low-risk pregnancy.

20 lbs is not a lot of weight. I am an active, healthy person who often backpacks, runs, lifts weights, etc. I regularly lift more than 50 lbs while working on our home renovations or at the gym. I honestly think our vacuum weighs more than 20 lbs - no 8 pound Orek here! Most things I've read say to simply maintain your current activity level while pregnant. Only lifting 20 lbs would be a big step back for me. I would obviously do anything required to have a healthy baby, but I feel an arbitrary restriction, not taking into account personal fitness, is ridiculous.

None of my friends say their doctors ever told them anything about how much/little to lift. I've since switched practitioners, and I'll talk to my midwife when I see her next month. Until then, I'm curious about what everyone else has experienced...

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#2 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 11:35 AM
 
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I have always just used my best judgement. I am now due and have kept on carrying 50# bags of feed my whole pregnancy. It is just my normal routine for years. I don't think my OB has ever specified how much I should lift. I mean- should you never carry toddlers? Mine weight almost 40# each and I sometimes have to carry them at the same time......

I don't think I would necessarily fire them for that- but I certainly wouldn't listen to that nonsense.

Iowaorganic- mama to DD (1/5/06), DS1 (4/9/07), DS2 (1/22/09), DS3 (12/10/10), DD2 (7/6/12) and a new kid due in early 2014

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#3 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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They're not getting fired for the silly lift restriction. When I was having my miscarriage, I went to the ER on Thursday night because of cramping and bleeding. They confirmed that I was miscarrying, and gave me a list of things to look out for. I bled a LOT the rest of that night and into the early morning. By about 7 am, I was feeling dizzy when I stood up. An hour or so later, I had to crawl back from the bathroom because I was so dizzy and nauseous I couldn't walk. That passed, but I was still dizzy when I stood or sat up. At 9 am, I figured that maybe this was something to be concerned about, so I called the dr's office. I told her I was miscarrying, and I wasn't sure how much bleeding was too much. I told her I was dizzy when I stood up, but I didn't know if that was a normal side-effect. The receptionist said she'd have a nurse call me. An hour later, no phone call back. I called again and asked for a nurse. I again explained my situation. She said she'd get my records and call me right back. An hour later, still no callback. My husband got on the phone an hour later (we were sleeping in between calls, since we didn't get to bed until about 4 am). He yelled at someone, then someone else, then told me we were going to the ER. When we got there, they took blood counts and told me that I'd lost about .6 L of blood in a little over 8 hours.

There had been things I didn't like about that dr's office from the start, but after that entire ordeal, I wouldn't go back. I tend to minimize my own injuries and illnesses, so I really wasn't sure whether or not my symptoms were serious enough to merit a hospital visit. If my husband hadn't been so exhausted, I know he would have packed me off to the ER much earlier, but he wasn't even really waking up when I would make my hourly treks to the bathroom, so he had no real idea of what was going on until about 10 am.

I did call the doctor's office and talk to them about the incident. They said that they had had a "chat" with the receptionist and the nurse, and said nothing like that would ever happen again. I liked the doctor from that office that I saw at the hospital, but if the staff is that insensitive and uncaring, I don't really want anything to do with them.

So, long story long, that's why I switched to a midwife for this pregnancy!

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#4 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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Sorry for your experience with the office staff. That would definitely make me reconsider using them. No "talking to" would make me comfortable it wouldn't happen again.

With regards to the lifting restrictions. My midwives said nothing during my first pregnancy and nothing this time. I think it is what you are comfortable with but obviously dont start lifting the couch with out help.

I carry my toddler around all the time and he is around 30 pounds. I wouldn't worry unless you feel it is too much then stop.

Pernille, Married to : mom to my 2 littel boys :4/12/07 and : 8/24/09
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#5 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 02:25 PM
 
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My midwife hasn't said anything either. I do try to use some commonsense, and be careful that I'm lifting correctly. I think the heaviest things I've lifted so far are a bunch of boxes when I was clearing out our spare room, and our dog, who weighs about 65 lbs. I think as I get further along, and can't hold things in tight to my body I'll probably avoid heavier things, but for a fit, active person with no other issues, 20 - 25 lbs seems like a really low limit.

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#6 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 02:59 PM
 
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i have been lifting my "normal" load all pg. i teach preschool, and having to lift a kid here and there has been no problem (and some of these kids are BIG). there was one day last week, when the preschool/ daycare i teach at was understaffed. i used to work in the toddler room, so my boss sent me over there to help out, thinking it would be easier on everyone since i had experience in there. WAY too much lifting for me. the kids in there were only between 20-30 lbs, but there were 13 of them (and one huge 40 lb 11 mo old!). changing diapers was a nightmare, and my back and stomach were both killing me by the time i left. i told my boss no way would i work in there again while pg, lol.

so yeah, i guess my point is that now i know there's a limit to how much lifting i can do comfortably. hahaha. my mw has not said anything to me about lifting at all though.

Leah- mama to Audrey born 12/29/03 and Gwyneth born 4/1/2009! Soon to be TTC #3!
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#7 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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I think plain & simple it's an old restriction & that there is very little info on what is actually an appropriate "limit". I was powerlifting before I got pregnant & all the info I could find on weightlifting & pregnancy was incredibly inadequate & lacking in reasoning. I continued lifting throughout -& it was significantly more than 20lbs.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#8 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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My midwife just says to really pay attention to your body's messages. If it is too much, you will know before something bad happens. But that only works if you are accustomed to listening to your body's messages/tuned into your body.

I figure it really works like this: If you are active and athletic, you are probably okay to judge for yourself, if you are not active then a restriction will not be a problem either.
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#9 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 04:30 PM
 
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I had been told 20# with my first, but with my last two they changed it to whatever you are used to doing before pregnancy. However, I would use a little more caution than that, in hindsight! I think you may want to do whatever you can without straining or wearing yourself out. I had a subchorionic hematoma this pregnancy, and we don't know for sure the cause, but the week before I started bleeding I had been hiking and carrying my DD (30#) at the same time, and I was about 12wks pregnant. Lifting her wasn't unusual, I still carried her in the Maya wrap all the time at that point to run errands, go for a walk, etc. But it was a long hike and it was uneven terrain, so I am pretty suspect that it could have triggered the bleeding. At the time I felt fine, but I was also love hiking and enjoyed the exercise. In hindsight though I wish I wouldn't have pushed it though!

Good luck!
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#10 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input, mamas. I definitely don't want to do anything that might harm my pregnancy, but I don't like feeling completely helpless either. And, I don't want to feel guilty if I carry the vacuum upstairs!

I guess maybe I'm just in rebellion against everyone saying "take it easy!" all the time, even if I'm not doing anything out of the ordinary! :

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#11 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 06:26 PM
 
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I have noticed that my "personal" limit is abou 50-75 lbs any more then that and I start to give myself cramps. I'm sure that limit will go down the more pregnant I get.

Sometimes I think people ask their DR for limits so they can have an excuse for not doing anything.

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#12 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 08:19 PM
 
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I've never been told anything about a limit. Minus a girl at the peds office, who when I mentioned I was also pregnant (she was due a couple weeks after that), who then scolded me for holding DS, who is 1, because she was told by her OB to not lift anything over a small sack of 5lb of potatos.

I don't carry HUGE things, but if I followed the 5lb rule this lady told me her OB office went by, I wouldn't even be able to pick up one of my cats. My mother is also paranoid & doesn't think I should carry as much as a blanket around. My son is at least 25lbs & I carry him, I also shop on my own & lift things as much as 30lbs on a pretty regular basis. In a wonderful, perfect world I'd have tons of people around me to help me or do these things for me, but that's never been the case. I make due. Again, I wouldn't lift anything too heavy or anything I didn't feel safe lifting, but I'm not going to chase down employees at Sam's Club to lift my 30lb bag of cat food for me then again to have hem load it into my car. I feel safe doing it & I've done it for years, it's not like I've never lifted anything in my life & now, at 22 weeks pregnant, I've taken up heavy lifting. If it is something I'm not use to, I doubt I'll do it.
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#13 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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I'm not paticularly strong or active, but even I lift way more than 20 pounds regularly! Heck, what does a full load of wet laundry weigh? I work in a bank and those boxes full of rolled coin easily weigh more than 20 pounds, at least the nickels and quarters do! I have started carrying one box at a time, instead of stacking them up, but yeesh... 20 pound maximum? Hate to think of what they tell second-time moms who have a toddler at home!

Mara, mama to two boys born 05/2009 and 04/2011, after four miscarriages. 

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#14 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 09:40 PM
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The only reason why you maybe shouldn't lift very heavy things even if you are fit and active is becuase your joints and ligaments are more relaxed during pregnancy and you're more likely to pull something.

That said, I lift my 30 plus lb kids all the time and I'm not worried about it. I think the 20lb limit is a little silly. Just don't lift anything you have to strain to pick up and you'll be fine.
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#15 of 21 Old 01-18-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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Im working with a trainer who specializes in prenatal fitness, and she's debunked many myths for me.. including the 20 pound one). I am very athletic (endurance sports) and my Dr. told me I could carry on as before, though I should watch the intensity and pay attention to my body's signals. From what I've read about weight training and pregnancy (there's not a lot of research on it, apparently), you should just be mindful not to hold your breath whilst lifting, but to focus on inhalation and exhalation...

A great book, which has really eased my mind, is 'Exercising Through Your Pregnancy' by James Clapp. it's mostly about aerobic exercise and pregnancy, though there is section on resistance and weight exercise. It's extremely well-researched (he's a researcher as well as a MD) and very reassuring.

The benefits of all exercise when you're pregnant seem to be staggering!

Zubee

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#16 of 21 Old 01-19-2009, 11:47 PM
 
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My DS is 40-45 lbs. and I lift him daily. I asked my OB about it last week and she said it is fine at this point in the pregnancy if it's what I'm used to doing... She said to be careful as the pregnanct progresses due to change of center of gravity and the ligaments and joints relaxing and that injuries are more likley to occur at that point.
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#17 of 21 Old 01-20-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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I think its an old "rule" I was told that when I was pg with #1, he'll be 11 in June. I was also told nothing heavier than the baby postpartum, lugging a baby in a bucket seat was a big no-no then

Heck I was pg with twins and until I was put on bedrest I was told just not to pick up anything I'd have to strain to lift.

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#18 of 21 Old 01-20-2009, 12:57 AM
 
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I lift my 33 lb toddler everyday.

And I agree that you just need to listen to your body and not lift anything that will strain your body.

And the woman that couldn't lift more than 5 lbs? Wow... Doesn't a gallon of milk weigh at least that much? That's the type of restriction given to people that have had neck or back surgery, not pregnant women! We're not invalids!

Mama to Tornado Boy (6/04), The Brute (11/06), and Mischief (05/09)... expecting in February '15
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#19 of 21 Old 01-20-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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I think I got the "nothing over 20 lbs" spiel with my first pg, but I just used common sense. I really just tried to avoid lifting anything that made me hold my breath to lift it (the Valsalva technique, weightlifters use it, it's not good for pregnant women.) But I've always lifted and carried my older children, and in fact have carried two of them at once routinely in my third and fourth pregnancies. I've moved furniture, lifted boxes, etc. I think just being sensible about your limit is all that's necessary. For some women, that probably is 20 lbs, and they should honor that. For others it's 50 or more, and they're safe to honor that too.

So sorry about the crummy care you were given!

~ Colleen ~ Joyful Unschooling Pagan mama to hearts.gifenergy.gifsuperhero.gifjog.gif and babyf.gif
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#20 of 21 Old 01-20-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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I've always been told that if you did it before you were pg, you can do it after you're pg! So, if you're not used to lifting 30lbs, then don't start now. If you lift a 50lb child on occassion, then it's still okay. And to listen to your body to make sure you're not straining. The generic rule I had heard was 35lbs. But my first child was heavier than that when I was pg with the next so I asked my dr - and that's when I was told it was fine since I was used to it.
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#21 of 21 Old 01-22-2009, 12:23 AM
 
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if it's your usual routine, there is nothing to worry about. you shouldn't be changing what you do (in terms of lifting, exercise, etc) until at least the second trimester and then changes should be made very slowly with the help of a professional. first trimester, it's fine to do what you are used to. heck, i'm a physiotherapist working in rehab and regularly lift/move/assist grown adults between 150-200 lbs; i did so until 39 weeks when pregnant with dd and will until 36 weeks when i go off on mat leave with this pregnancy. but that's my daily routine so i'm used to it.

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