Are Planks Safe During The First Trimester Of Pregnancy? 

During pregnancy, the need for certainty and assurance is often high and this extends to wanting all of one’s activities to pass the safety check. Are you an exercise enthusiast? Are planks a part of your exercise routine and are planks safe during the first trimester of pregnancy?

If you love exercising, you’ll be glad to know that this lifestyle you have managed to maintain has lots of benefits especially now that your are pregnant.

The question of planks safety has no direct answer. To know what’s best for you and your circumstance, it’s helpful to understand the effects of this activity and know the motivations behind certain considerations. This way you will be able to decide what is best for you.


Are Planks Safe During the First Trimester of Pregnancy?

Exercise is more than a lifestyle when you are pregnant, it’s something that must be prioritized. Yet, pregnancy comes with many demands, both emotionally and physically. The question lies in how to balance this out and imbibe practices that are not harmful but beneficial.

Deciding what exercise practices are beneficial can be tricky. It is so because every pregnancy comes with slightly different presentations and also, the mother’s health history as well as histories of past pregnancies if any, must be factored in.

This is why it is always advised to discuss your exercise regime with your health care provider. And if you decide to add new stuff to your routine, it should also be part of the conversation. This will guide your health care provider and guarantee your exercise routines are in your best interest.

Incorporating Planks into Prenatal Fitness

Planks are practices that help in the strengthening of the core. They can be incorporated into your prenatal fitness routine but not without certain considerations.

If you will be working with a fitness instructor, be sure to go with the one that has experience working with pregnant women. Or, one that collaborates with a healthcare provider to ensure your exercise regime is healthy for you.

Where it is not possible to find such an instructor or you are exercising solo, consult with your health care provider and discuss what your routine is like.

Another thing that should be considered is signals from your body. You should listen to your body and take any discomfort you feel seriously. If the strain or discomfort caused by the plank is consistent, you should seek modifications to your practice or even alternative exercises.

Asides these, planks come with benefits. They help to build core strength which provides support to the spine and reduces back pain which is a common discomfort during pregnancy. Also, having a strong core helps your body to maintain stability as the body changes.

Modifications Throughout Pregnancy Phases

There are also certain simple modifications you can make to your exercise routine. And these modifications should be continuous, in alignment with your body and the pregnancy phase.

In the first trimester, the risk of a miscarriage is the highest compared to other trimesters. Doing a plank position on the hands and knees, that is, a modified plank or plank on all fours will be better suited. The impact of these position will be a lot gentler on your body.

It should be noted that exercising during the first trimester is very safe. The point of interest is the impact and strain on the body as excessive strain should be avoided.

The consensus among healthcare professionals is to only do moderate exercise poses with little or minimal risk to the developing fetus. Activities that involve lying flat on the back for extended periods or activities that involve a high risk of falling should either be avoided or done with caution.


Can Planks Cause Miscarriage?

The common reason for the fear of exercise during pregnancy is the apprehension of a possible miscarriage. While some of these fears have some scientific bearing, many are fuelled by myths and old wives’ tales.

There are several studies that prove the safety of moderate exercises during pregnancy even in the first trimester. In fact, physical activity is often encouraged as it offers certain benefits including improved mood, sleep, and stamina.

Exercising itself is not a known cause of miscarriage. Where emphasis is often made is around the execution of these activities. Overexertion especially during the first trimester can cause complications that can put the health of the baby and mother at risk.

Most times, the effects of exercise on pregnancy is dependent on the pre-existing health concerns and if there is a history of a pregnancy complication. This is why it is recommended that your healthcare provider approves of your exercise regimen.

Read Also: Is Zumba Safe During Pregnancy First Trimester?


Importance of Regular Physical Activity

Studies have shown that regular physical activity during pregnancy leads to improved cardiovascular health, reduced risk of gestational diabetes, and improved mood regulation.

A sedentary lifestyle however has been associated with some risks. And low impact exercises should not be confused with high impact exercises as high impact exercises also have its risks.

The mantra for safe exercising during pregnancy is moderation, mindfulness, and caution. The common fear of planks and its ability to cause a potential miscarriage is often not contextualized.

The way to go is to see your doctor for consistent consultations and report anything unusual. Also, getting their approval before implementing any practice is important.


Are Side Planks Safe During Pregnancy?

Traditional planks are different from side planks even though they share some similarities. In side planks, there is the lateral component where the oblique muscles are engaged in a more intense way.

This makes side planks more complex compared to traditional planks. As a result, expectant mothers who wish to do side planks will have to make some modifications to ensure safety.

There are several significant changes that the body undergoes especially in the abdominal area. Your exercise routines therefore have to be flexible enough to accommodate these changes and reduce strain to the body to the barest minimum.

Some modifications to side planks can give this routine more semblance with traditional planks but these changes must be made in order not to compromise safety.

For instance, you can do side planks with the bottom knee bent or in a position where the body is supported by the forearm instead of a straight arm plank. This will largely reduce the stress placed on the abdomen.

Asides these modifications that need to be made, side planks are indeed beneficial. They strengthen the muscles and contribute to a better posture which in turn takes some strain off the lower back especially as the pregnancy progresses.

As much as side planks can be done safely and offers some benefit, caution must be taken while doing this. Once you notice strain, discomfort or dizziness while exercising, give yourself a break. If these sensations continue, modify your practice or consider other alternatives.

Read Also: Jumping While Pregnant- Is It Safe?


Exercises to Avoid While Pregnant

Exercising contribute to the health of the pregnancy experience. Some exercises are completely safe, some must be done with caution, while some are best avoided. Knowing exercises that can be harmful to you and your baby will help you stick to only practices that are beneficial.

Some forms of exercises to be avoided during pregnancy include:

High-Impact Exercises:

Exercise activities that involve a high risk of fall or are high impact should be avoided. Some of these exercises include high intensity aerobics, contact sports and energy intensive jumping activities. The risk of injury is higher during pregnancy and these activities come with an increased risk of injury.

Single Position For Extended Periods:

Lying on the back may be a low impact form of exercise but as the pregnancy progresses, lying flat on the back for an extended period can obstruct blood flow to the uterus. This could lead to dizziness and nausea. As such, exercises like traditional sit ups or crunches in a supine position should be avoided especially in the later phase of the pregnancy.

Heavy Weightlifting Without Proper Form:

Maintaining muscle tone is beneficial even during pregnancy. However, the lifting of heavy weights without proper form can strain the back as well as the muscles of the pelvic floor. You can tone your muscles by lifting lighter weights for longer periods. This would build your endurance and still tone your muscles.

Exercises That Overstrain the Abdominals:

Exercises that target the abdominal muscles including the rectus abdominis or the six-pack muscles should be avoided or done cautiously. These type of exercises include the full sit-ups and the double-leg lifts. Better alternatives that have effects on the core with lesser strain like the modified planks should be adopted.

Dehydration-Prone Activities:

Activities that lead to dehydration easily like the hot yoga or exercising in hot environments should be avoided. Quick dehydration can lead to overheating and can be harmful to both mother and baby. Rooms where you exercise should be well-ventilated and you should consider taking breaks in between to stay hydrated.

Exercises with a Risk of Abdominal Trauma:

Activities that are high risk to either the abdomen or other areas should not be part of your exercise regimen. These activities include those with a risk of falling or a direct impact on the abdomen. Contact sports, horseback riding, and skiing are common examples.


Conclusion on: Are Planks Safe During The First Trimester Of Pregnancy?

The specific needs of your body and the changes your body makes during pregnancy are the guides in deciding which exercise practices is safe or not. Planks, both traditional planks and side planks can be safe and beneficial if they are modified to meet your needs.

Always prioritize low impact activities when exercising and discuss your practices with your health care providers. Ensure to carry them along and share your concerns when you have any.