As Babywearing Educators, we are frequently asked about the safety of babywearing while pregnant, and the answer usually comes with a bit of followup about the wearer. In short, it is safe to wear your child if you feel comfortable to do so and you have checked with your doctor or midwife about being able to carry an older child during your pregnancy. Many of our leaders and members have carried their older children throughout their pregnancies safely and easily in a variety of different carriers, but a few modifications can help to make the process a little easier for you if you find that you are having specific fit and comfort issues.
Firstly, make sure your body is physically able to wear your older child. This is only a question that can be answered by your doctor or midwife. Each pregnancy is different. With certain issues or complications, it may not be considered safe to carry or lift loads above certain weights during your pregnancy. Your medical professional will be able to identify any issues that may restrict you in this way, so it is important to ask them if you plan to wear an older child before trying to do so.
Secondly, pay careful attention to your body’s signals. Babywearing can feel very different in each stage of pregnancy, and what was once very comfortable, may need adjustment later into your pregnancy. With building a new life, you may find that you are more prone to fatigue and new aches. If you feel that babywearing an older child is putting additional stress on your body, it may be best to discontinue wearing for the duration. You are the best judge of your body’s cues, so keep them in mind at all times while wearing.
Thirdly, explore your options. Carriers that were once comfortable may fit differently during pregnancy. There are a few simple adjustments that may help you be more comfortable with babywearing in your changing frame. We will cover a few of these adjustments below for you to personally try.
Sometimes, you may find that even with adjustments, the carrier you own is not a good fit for you during the pregnancy. We always invite you to come to a meeting to try on different types of carriers to see what could be a better fit for you and your children during this time.
Babywearing While Pregnant in a Soft Structured Carrier (Buckle Carrier)
When using a soft structured carrier during pregnancy, you may find that a waistband adjustment or different carrying position may help your comfort in carrying.
Tip 1: Front wearing can get to be a little too difficult in this type of carrier as your pregnancy progresses. You can try a hip carry or a back carry given the older child is of a suitable age for these types of carries. Many caregivers find that a back carry is very comfortable while pregnant, and they can continue to wear this way through their entire pregnancy.
Tip 2: You can wear the waistband above or below your bump while back carrying to minimize discomfort. Where you wear it, is just based on personal preference. Sara (pictured below) has found that at different time in her pregnancy, she has preferred it to be above the bump and at other times below. Try both to see what works best for you.
Below Bump Waistband Placement in Late Pregnancy
Above Bump Waistband Placement in Mid Pregnancy
Babywearing While Pregnant in a Mei Tai
Tip 1: The waistband can be worn tied under or over your bump per your comfort, in a back carry. This is very similar to how you would wear a SSC in the photos above.
Tip 2: Consider a hip carry or back carry with a child of suitable age, if front carry has become uncomfortable.
Tip 3: The shoulder straps can be tied in a variety of different finishes to keep the carrier more comfortable for you, and the weight of the child being carried away from your bump.
Mei Tai Tied Tibetan with Waistband Over Bump
Babywearing While Pregnant in a Ring Sling
Tip 1: Wearing your child higher, in an off-centered, or hip carry may help to distribute the weight of the chid to be a little more comfortable for you.
Tip 2: Make sure to spread the back and shoulder of the sling as wide as you can to distribute your older child’s weight on your new frame.
Tip 3: If you feel unbalanced at any point in wearing a one-shouldered carry, consider a two-shouldered carrier to help with evening the load of the child being carried.
Toddler Wearing in Mid Pregnancy
Toddler Wearing in Late Pregnancy (new baby is on its way here!)
Babywearing in a Woven Wrap
Tip 1: When adjusting and making the seat for your older child, make sure to do so very carefully while leaning over. Keeping a steady balance and even footing are essential with your changing body.
Tip 2: Select carries that allow for a comfortable waistband over or under your bump and are high, away front the belly to prevent pressure on the bump while carrying.
Tip 3: Select two-shouldered carries if you are not comfortable with one-shouldered weight barring.
Tip 4: If front carries are becoming uncomfortable, consider an off-centered or hip carry as long as baby is of appropriate age to do so.
Back Carry at 16 Weeks Pregnant with a 18 Month Old
Off-centered Carry at 20 Weeks Pregnant
Month by Month Woven Wrap Carries with a Toddler
Babywearing while pregnant is an option for most people. If you are approved to do so by a medical professional and you are physically comfortable wearing your older child, please do consider it an option for helping you in your everyday life. If ever specific wearing questions arise, please feel free to ask at a meeting or on our online Facebook board. Many women in our group have worn in all stages of their pregnancies, and we are here to support and help you with your wearing journey. Many congratulations on your upcoming arrival, and we are excited to share in your growing family as BWICL leaders.