Doing a plank during pregnancy is a controversial topic whether you know it or not. There is a lot of disagreement and misinformation on the internet and even in doctor’s office.
I have had at least 5 women tell me that their doctors told them to continue doing crunches throughout their pregnancies. I don’t even like doing crunches not preggo, let alone with child! In the defense of doctors I guess, they don’t really learn about exercise physiology.
I invited my friend Sara Haley, pre and post natal specialist, to join me on Instagram live to talk about what moves you should and shouldn’t do when pregnant specifically focusing on abs.
You can watch most of the chat above. I didn’t save the whole video (by accident) so if you asked a question about general pregnancy fitness do’s and don’ts, it’s probably not in the video but I’ll do my best to answer down below.
So if you watched the video above, you know why I’m not doing planks anymore and here is my personal reasoning.
- I think I jumped back into fitness too hard, too soon and as result I did not fully heal my abdominals post pregnancy.
- At 23 weeks, I already am noticing a coning when I do planks, certain ab moves and even today while doing a tricep pulldown(!).
- Doing planks is only going to tighten my core at this point instead of allowing it to naturally expand and grow. I’m scared that this is going to make it easier to split and have a diastasis recti.
- There really isn’t a benefit for me at this point if I want an easier recovery postpartum to continue doing planks.
There are ways to work your abs without doing planks and crunches. As mentioned in the video, you can do side planks and bird dog.
In additional, my favorite moves that work the abs are total body moves. A few of these moves include goblet squats, a single arm chest press while my upper back is on an exercise ball, and medicine ball slams.
To be honest, first time around, I did do planks up until my third trimester! I didn’t know any better. It was also my first so my abs had no previous “trauma.” I did notice coning but I had no idea what this meant. I wish someone had told me!!!!!
So you can continue doing planks but it’s going to make your postpartum recovery more challenging. Let your abs naturally expand without continuing to tighten them. Sure, strength to a degree is going to keep them from splitting but too much may have the opposite effect.
Many first time preggo’s, do not know this! Sara developed a DR during her second pregnancy. I feel like I am at risk since I already have a coning. I did not get one during my first pregnancy, and neither did she, but we both were heavy into the abdominal strength stuff. Sara talks about doing planks on an elevated surface during her second pregnancy but she still got a diastasis doing them that way. It does put less pressure on your abdominal wall, but it made her postpartum recovery “a bitch” in her own words.
Check out Sara’s website at SaraHaley.com for more exercises that are considered do’s and don’t.
Thank you so much for all of the great information you have provided about working out when pregnant. I have a question that would fit into the “plank” discussion but is a little more specific. How do you feel about continuing to do SLT when pregnant (I’m asking because you have mentioned it before -- so I know you are actually familiar with the workout!). I’m currently 10.5 weeks along with my second and have been doing SLT once a week since early December. As you know the workout engages your core basically the entire class with some planks thrown in. I was just curious about your thoughts! (On a side note -- I know you aren’t a doctor and I should check with mine if I’m super concerned -- she just told me to listen to my body!)