Carrying when Pregnant
Can I carry my child in a baby sling and in my arms when I’m pregnant? Is it safe? How can I babywear comfortably? We take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions and help to bring some reassurance during this precious time.
Pregnancy is a special time as your body prepares to welcome another little one into your family. The first time round, the question of carrying while pregnant was one you perhaps hadn’t considered before, but now, as a pregnant mother, the questions about carrying and pregnancy spring to mind. We’ll take a look at some safety points to consider, hear from others who have used slings when pregnant and look at some top tips for if you do choose to baby wear or carry in your arms when pregnant.
Can I carry my baby in a sling when I'm pregnant?
For centuries women have carried their little ones during pregnancy either through preference or necessity. This may have been in their arms, or with the use of a sling or piece of cloth, and lots of women today do carry their little ones during pregnancy too. You may have seen some incredible photographs and wondered how that works and if it’s possible with your baby sling.
Carrying while pregnant can be a lovely way of maintaining that close relationship with your little one. After just a few minutes, oxytocin is released, calming you both, lowering stress levels and helping you to bond with one another. The feeling of holding your child close, while your baby kicks away inside really is an incredible experience. Your child may be starting to feel nervous about the new arrival so this can be especially useful in reassuring them of your continued close bond.
It can also be wonderfully practical - allowing you to give time to your little one whilst you get on with other tasks. Plus all the other great benefits of using a sling such as being able to get out and about more easily, using public transport and generally being hands free.
Whilst babywearing during pregnancy is possible for the majority of women, we always recommend that you check with your local healthcare professional and also listen to your body closely, so that if at any stage you begin to feel uncomfortable or feel any pressure on the bump you know to stop, rest, and seek a healthcare professional’s advice. We also suggest reading this really comprehensive guide which explores carrying during each trimester and safety points to consider at each stage, by our lovely friend Dr Rosie Knowles - read here.
Zoe, the founder of Oscha Slings, adored carrying while pregnant, "I loved ruck tied under bum (Ruck TUB) when I was pregnant with the twins. My daughter was a small toddler and really valued the closeness, as well as getting tired legs and needing up when we were out! I found it easy to put on and it didn't touch my bump at all."
Top Tips for Carrying Comfort
Having learned about the benefits of using a sling during pregnancy, the safety points to consider for both pregnancy in general and in relation to your stage of pregnancy; you will no doubt be wanting to know how it can be done. What are some good carrying options we can use? We're delighted to say there are many!
We love the incredible versatility woven wraps offer and take you through a few good carrying options as well as having a look at the flexibility of ring slings, and considering how to get those carriers comfortable.
Wonderful Woven Wraps
Woven wraps really do come into their own in pregnancy. Their incredible versatility means that you can choose carries that totally avoid having any fabric near your bump. Unsure what a woven wrap is - check out our What is a Woven Wrap page.
Here are some wrap carries we love during pregnancy including some tips and variations to adapt them for your comfort at this time:
Ruck Back Carry
This is a great carry, it is often the first back carry you learn when wrapping, you can see how to do a standard ruck here:
While a traditional ruck finishes with a knot tied on your tummy, there are a few variations that are great during pregnancy.
The first method is to have it tied under your little one’s bottom. This is called a Ruck Tied under Bum and involves tying the knot at your back (or under your little one’s bum!). This is wonderful for keeping your bump free of the pressure of a knot.
For the second method, instead of tying a knot, the passes are taken diagonally up and threaded back through the shoulder ‘straps’ from the outside, inwards. This again removes the pressure of a knot, and creates a chest pass which adds additional support.
The third method is called a ‘Candy Cane Chest Belt’ and was a favourite with some of our customers; Rafidah loved either a Double Hammock or a Ruck, finished with a Candy Cane Chest Belt: “No uncomfy passes at the bump“
In this video below Hedwych from Wrap You In Love shows just how many finishes are possible with a Rucksack Carry.
Double Hammock Carry
Another popular carry when pregnant is the Double Hammock, again with a few pregnancy tweaks such as finishing with a Candy Cane Chest Belt, or tying high up above your bump.
“We didn’t wrap much while I was pregnant but when we did double hammock was our go-to, with the waist belt tied high on top of bump” (Daphne, Oscha Customer).
Robbins Hip Carry
For those wanting a different solution to back carrying hip carrying can also be done with a woven wrap. A Robins Hip Carry is a great option, allowing your little one to be carried on your hip, taking the pressure off your front yet still allowing them to gaze into your eyes and snuggle in under your chin or to look around and take in the world from this safe place.
Rocking the Ring Sling
We already love Ring Slings - so easy and quick to use, another one of their fabulous benefits is that you can just as easily use one for a hip carry as for a front carry. From around 5-6 months your little one can be carried at your hip, helping you to still have that lovely closeness; of being able to make eye contact, talk to each other and see the same view, yet without the pressure on your front.
Anne, one of our customers, said: “Quick up in a ring sling today to pop outside, 40+3. I personally find carrying on my back is more gentle on my tummy muscles than pushing a pushchair so have continued to carry both my older two throughout my subsequent pregnancies”.
All of our carrier types can be used throughout pregnancy, and the soft nature of woven wrap fabric means that they’re already a firm favourite amongst our customers. All of our carriers are designed for comfort as well as elegance and allow for adjustments that you can make to the waistband so that it best suits you during pregnancy. Some people prefer to move the waistband higher up, above their bump and closer to their chest, while others prefer to wear it lower down – under their bump and nearer to their hips. You can choose whichever one feels most comfortable to you, always ensuring the safety of your little one is maintained, with good positioning, no slumping and clear airways.
The Strata Linea waistband on our Cairis and Nook carriers is also designed for maximum comfort, the extra layer of padding it provides is ideal for carrying during pregnancy. The video below shows how to make sure that it’s aligned for that luxurious feeling.
As your pregnancy progresses, front carrying may become less comfortable and many women turn to back carries. Dr Rosie Knowles explains: “back carrying is a good solution for many; there is more space on the back for a bigger child, enabling close contact without putting any pressure on the enlarging bump”.
Back Carrying can be done in all of our carrier types, and we have video instructions showing how to do this in a Cairis Carrier, Bairn Carrier, Nook Carrier and a Coorie Carrier. If you’re new to back carrying, or would like a little more 1 to 1 help, then why not get in touch with your local sling library who can help you to learn this new skill :)
Our Cairis and Coorie carriers both have wrap straps which as well as being tied in a knot can also be finished in the same way as a wrap, with the diagonal chest passes we mentioned earlier taking all knots away from your growing bump.
Many of our customers adore our Coorie carrier in pregnancy for its incredible and unique ring waist. Sandra said “Not only are the colours stunning but your Coorie is the most comfortable carrier I have ever tried yet. At 32 weeks pregnant the Coorie waistband not only is the most comfortable way to tighten the Carrier around my growing belly it is also a way to show off my belly in the most beautiful way! ”
The Coorie is our wonderfully luxurious carrier that is available through our Made to Order Service. This runs at least twice a month and allows you to order any of our items handcrafted especially for you from our new fabric releases. Learn more about our Made to Order Service here.
Bump, or belly, wrapping means using a woven wrap or ring sling to support your pregnant belly for short periods of time during late pregnancy. While our products are not specifically designed for this purpose (and we would ask you to check with a healthcare provider beforehand) we have heard from many of our customers that they love to spread the wraps wide across their abdomen and hips for comfort. The lovely Laurna has also made some videos for us showing how this is done. Bump wrapping can be done with any size of wrap, or with a ring sling and can provide a nice relief at the end of a busy day.
We hope that’s helped answer some of your carrying when pregnant questions. We’d love to end with hearing from one of our lovely Clan Oscha members, Petra who shared a wonderful encouragement with us which is so relevant for those who have been advised not to carry, or for those who find it uncomfortable:
“Always listen to your body. Pregnancy babywearing is no competition. There's no shame in not carrying your child in order to protect the little one inside of you.”
Petra, Clan Oscha.
Holding your little one close, cuddles on the sofa and reading together are fabulous ways to bond if carrying isn’t an option for you, and it won’t be long before there’ll be another little one joining this precious time too.
References and Further Reading: