Babywearing, or carrying in a sling whilst pregnant is something that we are often asked about. Parents who’ve often carried their child since birth, fear they might now have to stop. That idea can seem very daunting. It can even create a feeling of grief over the loss of that bond. The good news pregnancy alone isn’t a reason to suddenly stop carrying, if it’s something your body is used to.
Carrying in pregnancy: considerations
As in all cases, when carrying we advise you listen to your body, and rest when you need. This is particularly true when pregnant as pregnancy can be very taxing. In pregnancy, the growth of your bump can make certain slings or carrying positions tricky or uncomfortable. Additionally, higher levels of relaxin in your system mean your joints may be more easily strained. It is advisable to take extra care to protect your joints through careful positioning and tightening of slings; and through careful movement whilst carrying in pregnancy. It’s worth making sure you are using a well-fitted carrier that allows you to adopt a normal posture.
Again, rest when needed. If you are finding carrying whilst pregnant painful prioritise taking care of yourself where possible. For some people carrying in pregnancy is not comfortable, even with professional support to find a well-fitting carrier that suits your changing shape. However, for most parents, with a bit of adjustment it is perfectly possible to comfortably carry throughout some or all of pregnancy.
Carrying in pregnancy: where to wear the waistband?
Waistband positioning when back-carrying is another frequent issue. The usual answer is that the ‘right’ position is wherever you find it most comfortable. For some that’s below the bump, like in the image to the left: “Meh dai tied below the bump. Sarah Smith, Greenwich Slings/South East London Slingers” For others tying a waistband above the bump as in the image above, may be more comfortable. This may depend on the carrier, the stage of pregnancy and the weight of the child. It may change throughout pregnancy too, so don’t be afraid to try some different positions.
Some people find all waistbands uncomfortable whilst carrying in pregnancy. If this is you, don’t despair, there are plenty of carriers with no waistband! Onbuhimos are one such popular choice during pregnancy; you can tie woven wraps in many ways avoiding the waist; podaegis have no waistband, and nor do ring slings, so there are lots of options to explore!
Personally, I found that a meh dai tied onbuhimo-style was my preferred choice. The waistband allowed me to use my preferred hip-scoot method to get my toddler onto my back. Once the shoulder straps were tied I unfastened the waistband leaving no pressure on my bump.
Is front carrying possible?
Front-carrying whilst pregnant can be challenging. As the bump grows and you usually raise the child on your front above the bump, it may become impractical, but if you can still see, and ‘s not straining or uncomfortable, then you don’t have to stop. You may find a ring sling or other hip carry option a more practical compromise that allows you to see though! Care should be taken when using hip carries and asymmetric carries that strain is not placed on the joints, and that you don’t adopt a misaligned or twisted posture to compensate for the weight distribution resting on one side.
If you need further advice about carrying in pregnancy, or have concerns then get in touch visit a local or online sling library or consultant, for specialist support. For any concerns about the pregnancy itself always contact your midwife or pregnancy unit.