Should You Shovel Snow When Pregnant?

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snow shoveling

*Please note this is general information, consult your doctor for professional medical information.

Can you shovel snow while pregnant?

Can you shovel snow while pregnant?   This is a good question and the simple truth is that you can shovel early in the beginning, however you most likely shouldn’t in your last trimester. 

Earlier in pregnancy, you can still shovel snow.  Unless your doctor recommends otherwise, it’s fine to shovel a light dusting to medium powdery snow when pregnant. Negotiating snow-covered sidewalks and driveways is like any physical activity. You should still take it easy and be careful.  How much you can do generally depends on your pre-pregnancy fitness level.  If you are working out, running, doing Pilates and/or circuit training as part of your pre-pregnancy routine; you should be able to shovel moderate snow fine in the first part of your pregnancy. 

Can I shovel pregnant?

Once you’re twenty or so weeks along,  don’t shovel or attempt to clear snow. This is ESPECIALLY true when you shovel heavy, wet, icy snow, as it requires a lot twisting and back use. During pregnancy, your ligaments become looser to allow your body to accommodate your growing baby. The hormone relaxin helps to prepare your body for labor and delivery. But it can also affect your joints, making you feel unsteady. This change alone can put a woman at risk for injury.

Relegate all the heavy lifting during pregnancy. You could sweep light snow up to three-quarters of an inch. You should definitely scrape off the windshield and brush off the car. Consider getting yourself an extension snow brush, especially if you have a truck or other higher-profile vehicle. Just be careful when standing, turning your back and how you move. Take it slow and easy — during pregnancy, remember that the lower back muscles are super-relaxed now and can very easily get strained or pulled.

You can still bundle up and supervise spouses/partners and older kids for them to clear off the sidewalks. You can also get a professional snow and landscape service to help you, ask in a local Facebook group if anyone does snow removal, or even ask one of the neighbors if they could lend you a hand. But when you’re pregnant, you need to be extra careful about walking on the snow and ice. ou will want to be deliberate about your footing; if it’s especially icy – then stay indoors. 

When you are in your third trimester of pregnancy, your center of gravity may be off-balance, which could make you prone to slips and falls. Your center of gravity refers to the place in your body that helps anchor you to the earth, so that you don’t tip over. A natural point of balance is below the navel and halfway between the abdomen and lower back. Having a strong center of gravity helps you have good balance. During pregnancy, as your baby grows, your center of gravity moves forward and upward. Therefore, feeling off-balance is likely to worsen later on in your pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. Slipping and falling is much easier when your center of gravity has shifted.

With a little thought and planning, you can remain safe during the cold, winter months. Once your baby is born, your center of gravity and ligaments will slowly return to normal again, and you can resume your usual activities.

Should you shovel snow when pregnant?

It is a good idea to avoid grabbing a shovel and digging into mounds of white. Have A Snow Strategy – Make a conscious plan before you go into the yard. This makes sure you can accomplish your goal, while not taking a risk or chance of injury. 

Wear waterproof shoes or boots with excellent grips or treads on the soles. If there’s a hint of ice or slippery slush, you want to make sure you’re stable on your feet. Falling on either your bottom or your back cam hurt you and all on board.

Wear a belly or back support belt. This will give your belly and back added support, especially considering those are the muscles you will want to protect most. Not only does wearing a support belt make sense when you shovel, but it will also be handy to have when doing any task that requires bending and lifting. 

Use a newer snow shovel that features good grips and an ergonomic handle. Having a good shovel with good hand grips is beneficial so your hands do not slip as you try to push or lift snow. 

Try to push snow to the side instead, rather than lifting and throwing it. If the snow is light enough, try pushing it into a pile instead of plowing through it. Lifting and throwing snow can injure your back, shoulders, and neck if you’re not careful.

Take regular breaks. Take a break every ten minutes or so can give your body a helpful rest. Stand just inside the garage or step inside the front door.  Keep hydrated. With all of the movement and motion, it’s very possible for you to become dehydrated. Take an insulated water bottle with you, instead of a travel mug of cocoa or coffee. Save those as a reward for when you defrost afterwords.  

If you have a snow thrower, use this powerful tool with care. From breathing noxious fumes while fueling up to dealing with discharge chutes accidentally clogged with leaves and newspapers, these machines have their own set of issues of which to beware. If you have never used such a machine in the past, it might be better to let someone with more experience take over using the snowblower. Certainly, ask for instructions or help if you are unsure.

Be careful out there.  Listen to your body and be aware of your situation. It can take you longer to recover from sore muscles when you’re pregnant. Stay warm as well! No need to get a cold from being in the snow!

*Please note this is general information, consult your doctor for professional medical information.

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