July 02, 2015

Q: What is my weight limit when it comes to lifting things during pregnancy? Also, can I take any over-the-counter medicine for headaches?

A: One of the most common questions I get and one of the biggest old wives' tales is that lifting heavy things will cause a miscarriage or cause a baby to get tangled up in its umbilical cord.  Lifting heavy things will not cause a miscarriage (or any other complication to the baby) during pregnancy.

However, lifting heavy things will likely cause low back pain and possibly damage to your back.  There is no absolute weight limit placed on pregnant women as far as how much they can carry or lift.  If you have a 20 lb. toddler at home, you will likely need to lift and carry her during pregnancy.  Just use good judgment.  Bend at the knees to pick up heavier objects, not at your waist.  Don't be afraid to ask people to help you.  And avoid lifting any 40 lb. 4 year olds or rearranging furniture in the living room!

Regarding headaches, they are very common during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester.  They can be caused by your surging hormones, a withdrawal from caffeine, dehydration, a change in your vision, or an exacerbation of pre-existing migraine headaches.  You can follow the treatments below, but make sure to speak to your practitioner if you experience any of the "red flags" below.

Red Flags

- The worst headache you have ever had. - Headache that wakes you up from sleep. - Headache that doesn't go away with hydration and pain meds. - Headache that lasts more than a few hours or returns frequently. - Abdominal pain with a headache. - Vision changes with a headache. - Fever with a headache.


- Sleep more. - Exercise. - Stay well hydrated. - Ask your partner for a massage (or pay for one). - Medication options: acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a caffeinated beverage. - Consider getting your vision checked.

Answered by Dr. Michele Hakakha



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