(HealthDay News) – Provisional guidelines derived from lifting criteria established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) can be applied to pregnant women, according to research published in the August issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Leslie A. MacDonald, ScD, from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati, and colleagues reviewed the literature linking occupational lifting to maternal and fetal health to inform the application of the NIOSH lifting equation to pregnant workers.

Noting that existing lifting guidelines are incongruent, the authors present new recommended weight limits for women with uncomplicated pregnancies, which do not cover very high frequency lifting. The provisional guidelines recommend no lifting or lowering from the floor with hands below mid-shin, and account for the influence of abdominal depth on the minimum distance an object can be held in front of the body in pregnancy. The recommended weight limits in these guidelines are lower and more protective than guidelines from the American Medical Association, and are generally compatible with the NIOSH lifting recommendations for the U.S. workforce.

“We encourage clinical researchers and professional organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine to evaluate their application, to participate in and encourage more research on physical job demands and maternal-fetal health, and to suggest revisions to these provisional guidelines as new research findings become available,” the authors write.

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