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Heavy Lifting: A Mom’s Guide To Avoiding Injury

By DMG Physical & Occupational Therapy

Whether you are a new or seasoned mom, it is always important to practice safe lifting techniques and good body mechanics when lifting or carrying your child. When you become a parent, nobody tells you how hard it is on your body, especially your wrists, elbows, back and neck. Between the lifting, bending and twisting you do numerous times a day to get your children in and out of cribs, strollers and car seats you may start to experience the physical toll it places on your body.

These repetitive movements can easily turn into repetitive-stress injuries (RSIs). RSIs are injuries to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that are caused by repetitive motions or tasks, or by sustained or awkward positions (poor posture) – like carrying a child on one hip. These poor body mechanics can put a lot of force on ligaments, muscles, joints and tendons which can be harmful to your body.

The good news is that by correcting your posture and using proper lifting techniques you can easily reduce your risk of injury. During child care activities it is important that you learn how, and remember to pull in and contract your abdominal muscles and your pelvic floor muscles. This creates an “internal girdle” and will help to protect your spine and your pelvis and will keep you in a better position.

Carrying An Infant Car Seat

  • Never carry the car seat on your arm like a purse. Hold the car seat with both hands and in front of you. The less distance between your torso and what you are carrying, the better for your back. Plus using both hands will help to distribute the weight evenly.

Lifting Your Baby from the Crib

  • Bring your baby as close to you as possible and use your arms and legs to lift. Try not to lock your knees or lift from far away – this puts added pressure on your spine.

Carrying a Toddler

  • Don’t balance your child on one hip – this can lead to stress and strain on your back as well as your hip and pelvis. Carry your child in front of you, directly against your chest, in an upright position – and always use both arms/hands.

Putting Your Child on Your Lap

  • Get down on one knee, grab/hold your child, and move back into your seat. If you lean forward while you remain seated you will put a tremendous amount of pressure on your back.

Lifting Your Child From a Car Seat

  • Put one leg into the car and face the car seat while you’re lifting your child in the seat. This will take pressure off your back. If the car seat is in the middle of the back seat, climb in and face the seat as you lift your child from it.

Wiggly little bodies can make it difficult to follow these tips all the time, but it doesn’t always have to be perfect. The more often you lift with proper technique – the more your body will be able to tolerate it when you don’t.

If you have aches and pains that don’t seem to go away, talk to your primary care physician and see if physical therapy would be right for you or call 630-967-2000.

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