Doing Planks Exercise during Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Doing Planks Exercise during Pregnancy - Is It Safe?

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If you are pregnant, you must have made significant changes to your diet. You must have started eating healthy foods to ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy and that your baby remains safe but eating right alone won’t help. You also need to indulge in certain safe exercises to stay fit and active during pregnancy. You can do almost all exercises, but there are certain restrictions that need to be kept in mind for the safety of your baby. Women who have an active lifestyle may have to alter their workouts during pregnancy. If you did planks before getting pregnant, you may want to continue it during pregnancy too, but is it safe for the baby? Find out!

Can Pregnant Women Do Planks

The simple answer is ‘yes’, you can do planks during pregnancy. However, it should be done only when your doctor gives you a go-ahead. You can do planks but with certain modifications. If you are used to doing plank exercises, these modifications will be easy to make. However, if you do want to start doing planks during pregnancy, then you must consult with your doctor.

Benefits of Planks

Planks exercise target muscles of the lower back and obliques. It also strengthens the abdominal muscles and the muscles in the arms and legs. It also relieves back pain during pregnancy. This exercise engages the core muscles while keeping your spine in a neutral position and improves posture and strengthens the core. Since planks do not put any pressure on the belly, pregnant women will find it more comfortable than other mat exercises like abdominal crunches. It can also affect your mood positively and can help alleviate stress.

What Are the Risks of Doing Planks While Pregnant

As with other exercises, there are certain risks of doing plank exercises while pregnant. When you do it wrong or overdo it, the following risks may arise:

While doing planks it is important that your spine is in a neutral position. You should also check to see if you have a common condition known as diastasis recti where the abdominal walls separate in order to accommodate for the expanding uterus. In such a case, you should refrain from doing planks.

Steps to Do Traditional Planks in Pregnancy

You should try doing plank exercises only under the guidance of your doctor or a certified trainer who has worked with pregnant women earlier. However, you can use the steps given below to do traditional planks.

  • Get on all fours on a yoga mat.
  • Make sure that your wrists are placed directly underneath your shoulders.
  • Your knees have to be directly below your hips with your shins extending backwards.
  • Once you are in this position, extend your right leg such that only your toes of the right leg are touching the ground.
  • Then, extend your left leg in a way that your toes of the left leg touch the ground.
  • Your elbows should be now positioned under your shoulders.
  • Keep your neck in the neutral position, that is, look forward and not at the ground.
  • Be sure to breathe normally.
  • Count till ten and take a break. Repeat up to three cycles.

Once you are comfortable holding the plank position for up to ten seconds, you can start increasing the time by 5 seconds. Monitor your body and stop if you feel any particular pain in any part of your body.

Variations in Planks

Plank is an amazing exercise to perform, but when you are pregnant you have to be a little careful. Make sure you use support while doing planks during pregnancy. Also, never do it alone. Perform this exercise under supervision. Here are some variations in planks that you can try:

1. Side Plank

A side plank can be done in several ways during pregnancy. However, the goal is to start with the simplest form. This gives you the opportunity to build strength while not over stressing your body. You can follow the steps below:

Side planks

  • Start on your left side.
  • Your left elbow should be below your left shoulder and feet should be stacked.
  • Your body is supported by your left arm and the floor.
  • Lift your body up.
  • You can now extend your right arm such that it is pointing towards the ceiling.
  • Maintain this pose for ten seconds, take a break and repeat with the other hand.
  • Remember to do this exercise under someone’s guidance and not alone.

2. Vertical Plank

As you progress through your pregnancy, you can try this form of a vertical plank as it will be less stressful for your body.

  • Stand straight facing a wall.
  • Place your palms in front of you, on the wall.
  • Your forearms and elbows should touch the wall.
  • Push back gently against the wall.
  • Make sure your shoulders are pushed away from your neck and close to the spine.
  • Stay in this position for 10 seconds, release, and then repeat.

Word of Caution

You will find that doing planks during pregnancy in your first trimester is much easier than in the other trimesters. In fact, after the 20th week, you might find that you need to stop altogether. Be sure to do planks in any form only if your doctor suggests.

If you are unable to do planks in the right form, then try other easy exercises. If you feel any signs of discomfort such as breathlessness, nausea, and dizziness, stop immediately and seek medical help.

Also Read: Breathing Exercises during Pregnancy