Pregnant and can't lift?

  1. I'm wondering when you really are not supposed to lift when pregnant? I'm sure I was quite careful with my first, but the reality of hauling a toddler around while pregnant with the second made me realize we are NOT made of glass

    Anyway, we have a new nurse who announced her pregnancy at about five weeks and won't lift anything heavier than a chart. No boosts, etc. Now, I don't want to ask her to do anything she really shouldn't, but she is healthy, young, has not been told by her doctor to avoid any type of lifting, so....? We happen to be insanely short-handed so finding someone to move her patients or whatever can be problematic. I imagine as time goes on she'll be even less "able". The charge nurse is dealing with it by not dealing with it just yet.

    Anyone have any ideas about this?
  2. Visit RNsRWe profile page

    About RNsRWe

    Joined: May '05; Posts: 10,813; Likes: 25,306
    pulling patients back from The Light; from US
    Specialty: pulling patients back from The Light

    65 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    Late in the second trimester was what my doc told me, because of lack of abd support. If that nurse is refusing to carry out her job, she should have a doctor's note limiting her duties. If not, then your manager needs to step in.
  4. by   Jolie
    ITA, Tazzi.

    A healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy does not warrant lifting restrictions, especially in the early weeks and months.

    This nurse needs to either perform her required duties, or present medical documentation as to why she can't. If she is legitimately restricted by her doc/midwife, then she needs to negotiate light duty or take FMLA.
  5. by   hope3456
    I worked until three weeks b/f delivery - lifting and all - with no problems. Personally, I have seen women use pregnancy as an excuse, as well.
  6. by   TazziRN
    Quote from hope3456
    I worked until three weeks b/f delivery - lifting and all - with no problems. Personally, I have seen women use pregnancy as an excuse, as well.
    I wasn't told I couldn't lift, but that it wasn't a good idea because of the lack of abd support. We have no problem helping coworkers who look like beached whales, just out of sympathy, but it's rather hard to justify helping a newly pregnant woman the same way.
  7. by   Paprikat
    I miscarried at 11 weeks and an currently pregnant and 12 weeks. I am a high risk pregnancy and high risk to miscarry again as I have have several episodes of bleeding. My doc told me no lifting anything heavy until I get past 16 weeks.
  8. by   mom23RN
    Quote from Paprikat
    I miscarried at 11 weeks and an currently pregnant and 12 weeks. I am a high risk pregnancy and high risk to miscarry again as I have have several episodes of bleeding. My doc told me no lifting anything heavy until I get past 16 weeks.
    Did they give you restrictions then? I personally believe if you can't do your job then you need to be off or working in some capacity that can cater to those requirements.

    I completely understand that you shouldn't be doing these things, but I also think this could be a problem if other staff is supposed to take over some of your duties when they are probably overwhelmed as well.

    What has your employer stated? How have they handled this?

    Thanks!
  9. by   Paprikat
    I work in LTC and have always pulled my weight when I wasn't pregnant. My responsibility is for meds, treatments and assessments. The care aides are responsible for lifting residents, etc., that includes getting them off the floor when they fall, after being assessed by me, so fortunately, I really don't have any heavy lifting to do, but when I wasn't pregnant, I would always lend a hand and working with the same women for 10 years and helping them lift residents off the floor when they were pregnant, they reciprocate.
  10. by   ChocoholicRN
    I understand Paprikat's situation and why there are restrictions in that case, but otherwise, theres no reason why this newly pregnant nurse should not be lifting. At my hospital, the policy is that a nurse should not be lifting or boosting after 3 months, but a lot of nurses tend to help out anyway unless they really feel unsafe or uncomfortable. This nurse needs to either bring in a doctor's note with a legit reason for why she can't lift at just 5 weeks or get her butt to work!!
  11. by   Tweety
    I work with four, yes four, pregnant nurses, and it's business as usual for all four them. (I'm dreading the time when all four are out on maternaty leave during our busy season, but that's another thread).
  12. by   mamason
    I worked 12 hour day shifts on a busy tele/ stepdown unit up until 2 weeks before a planned c-section. I was 39 at the time. It was tough, but, I still managed to hold my own and the other staff were ususally helpful if the pt was a heavy or dead weight lift or turn. I think it's wise to be cautious, but, not to the extent to let it intefere with your job duties. If she is a high risk candidate then she needs to get it in writing, otherwise, she should still be able to function as a nurse on the floor. If the pt is a heavy lift, then, she should ask for help, not to just blow it off on other staff members.
  13. by   Sandi0302
    Lifting a pt is different than lifting a box. No one, pregnant or not, should be lifting a person on their own. That is the way people get injured.
    As far as lifting while pregnant, the first trimester is the most critical, and the tri where the risk for miscarriage is highest. I have said this in another post, and I will say it again: An unborn child isn't worth risking for anybody or any job...period.
  14. by   Jolie
    Quote from Sandi0302
    Lifting a pt is different than lifting a box. No one, pregnant or not, should be lifting a person on their own. That is the way people get injured.
    As far as lifting while pregnant, the first trimester is the most critical, and the tri where the risk for miscarriage is highest. I have said this in another post, and I will say it again: An unborn child isn't worth risking for anybody or any job...period.

    Sandi,

    Yes, the risk of miscarriage is definitely the greatest in the first trimester, but it is very rare indeed for an early miscarriage to be caused by lifting.

    You are also correct that no one should lift a person on his/her own. I don't think any of the posters here meant to imply that any nurse should attempt to do so, pregnant or not. But to expect to be relieved of all participation in lifting patients because of pregnancy is unreasonable in the absence of a medical excuse.

    I would NEVER ask anyone to do anything that would jeopardize their health or that of their unborn child, but if a staff member is unable and/or unwilling to perform an integral part of her duties, she needs to make alternative working arrangements.

close