Q&A: Lifting while pregnant, drinking and the two-week wait, and more
It’s Q&A day!
Today’s first question is available to all subscribers (about lifting a toddler while pregnant), and there are a few bonus ones behind the paywall (about alcohol and conception, baby back sleeping and flat head spots, and antidepressants and male fertility).
Enjoy! And remember, you can submit questions for future weeks here.
I’m currently pregnant with #2, and while I was able to avoid “heavy lifting” when pregnant with [my first], I’m truly not able to these days. Which got me thinking, what’s the deal with that advice anyway? Looking through Dewey and your archives, it appears that those posts focus on heavy lifting involved in exercise for those who were doing it pre-pregnancy. My question is a bit different and is about generally lifting heavy things when pregnant. Is the concern just tearing (a loose/stretched from pregnancy) joint/ligament? Is there a specific trimester that it should be most avoided? Where is the data on heavy lifting coming from? Thanks!
—Mom of a heavy toddler, with shit to do that requires heavy lifting
I have always felt that the advice not to lift things over 30 or 40 pounds during pregnancy was like trolling pregnant people who have toddlers. And after looking into it, it basically is.
The concerns about lifting in pregnancy stem from jobs involving heavy lifting. One worry is about joint and ligament stress, since joints can loosen in pregnancy and injury becomes more of a risk. This is a reason for there to be workplace pregnancy accommodations. However: in studies that look at lifting in the workplace, we’re talking about lifting 400 or more pounds, and repeatedly, all day. This isn’t life with a toddler, even a big one.
The second lifting concern is a risk of miscarriage, but the best data doesn’t support this. Although in some studies, very extensive occupational lifting has been linked to miscarriage, these links are not consistent and may well reflect other biases.
As your pregnancy goes on, listen to your body. You do not want to throw out your back or knees lifting your toddler. But, being careful about this injury risk, go ahead and lift away.
A friend was asking me about drinking during the two-week wait [the time between ovulation and a missed period], and I pulled up your section of Expecting Better on how there isn’t a risk of birth defects but that it could prevent conception if enough cells are impacted.
But I want to feel even more confident about this advice, and I’m wondering if you have any studies you can point me to that back this claim. It seems a bit surprising that cells can’t be damaged during this time, just killed (that it’s all or nothing), and I’d love to better understand how much drinking affects the likelihood of conception.