Back-Friendly Lifting in Pregnancy and Postpartum

Today’s post comes from guest-blogger Madison Cleckler, prenatal and postpartum online trainer! Enjoy as she discusses various methods of strengthening your back with pregnancy and postpartum considerations.

4 Ways to Lift in Pregnancy and Postpartum

Back pain is super duper common in pregnancy and postpartum. Often when people come to me with questions about back pain, specifically when lifting, they often tack on “but I’m trying to lift with my legs and not my back”, so I want to unpack this first.

Obviously your body changes a whole lot during pregnancy. One really cool adaptation is in the spine during pregnancy. The lumbar (or lower back) vertebrae actually get larger to support the added weight. Your posture also changes quite a bit for this reason as well. None of these things are bad, but the changes can come with a not-so-cool addition of back pain.

Many people worry that the lifting itself is the cause of the back pain, which may or may not be true. Will lifting from your legs rather than “with your back” cause less back pain? Maybe, maybe not.

Back muscles are actually super important when it comes to lifting things. Using our back, and backsides in an effective way to lift things can often be MORE comfortable than squatting to lift, especially in late pregnancy and early postpartum. I want to show you 4 ways to lift in these phases that can help you lift with more ease and less pain in pregnancy and postpartum.

The Traditional Dead Lift

The good ol’ dead lift is a favorite of mine. This is an exercise you’ll see in all of my programs because it is the epitome of functionality. Learning lifting mechanics is something I was all clients to do because it is an often feared movement but one that is SO important for daily life. From picking up your kids to loading the dishwasher, the dead lift can support you in tons of ways.

Video here

The Sumo Dead Lift

The sumo dead lift is an excellent late pregnancy modification. By taking the feet wider you’re creating more room for the belly and taking pressure off of the pelvic floor as you bend to lift. This can also be a great way to manage a bulky car seat with more support postpartum.

Video here

The Kickstand Dead Lift

The kickstand variation of a dead lift is a more supported version of a single leg dead lift. Training in single leg stances are important, even in pregnancy and postpartum. What tends to happen is that we develop favorites in movement, meaning one leg gets favored and may be stronger than the other or more stable. Training single leg variations can even the playing field. This kickstand variation is a great way to feel more supported if you struggle with balance, but can also be a great way to manage pelvic or hip pain during lifting.

Video here

The Multitasking Dead Lift

The video says it all. If you’re the mom of a million kids like Stephanie and I are, you do a ton of lifting- often while holding a person. This version of a dead lift is a way to train the movement when the baby won’t let you set them down, or just a great way to vary your training program. Plus it kind of reminds you of picking up a car seat, right?

Video Here

Movement that supports new and seasoned mom and their every day movement is my jam. These are some staple lifts you’ll find in my pregnancy and postpartum programs because it helps you feel strong and capable in your body just when you need it. So which lift suits you best?

~Madison Cleckler is a birth doula and fitness coach for Moms. She offers 1:1 remote coaching and exercise programming for prenatal and postpartum populations. She is a Mom of three, based out of Homewood, AL and has a passion for helping women live stronger, happier, healthier lives. Madison is an incredible asset to the women’s health realm.


Dr. Stephanie Perez

PT, DPT- Owner and Founder

Our mission at Empowered Wellness is to empower women to achieve optimal physical, emotional, and mental well-being through comprehensive, personalized care.

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