It's safe to hold planks during pregnancy.
Why this myth exists
Women are often told by their care providers that it's safe to continue doing whatever workout they did before pregnancy. For many women their pre-pregnancy workout included planks, pushups, planks holds, etc. And if you aren't well versed in the topic of Diastasis Recti, it's not an exercise that you would necessarily think of as a contraindication so many women continue doing them without realizing the damaging they may be causing to their core.
Pregnancy and early postpartum is the time to train our bodies with the utmost attention to detail. For us, that means fully integrating the inner core unit (aka Pump & Kegel) in EVERY single movement from the moment we find out we are pregnant...if not before!
We perform what we call "moving planks" at FPC in order to fully integrate the inner core unit and protect the linea alba (the tendon connecting the two sides of our six-pack together), from any additional outward pressure or strain. Holding a plank produces that outward pressure we are trying to avoid. When it can no longer sustain the pressure, it can tear, causing what's called a diastasis recti.
At FPC, we teach that you use your breath, with a properly engaged pump & kegel, to move in and out of your plank position. This is the way to safely modify your planks during pregnancy and early postpartum.
* If you aren't able to maintain the core integration, if you feel outward pressure on the abdominal wall (pushing out) or if you ever see coning or doming through the abs, you should eliminate this exercise completely. It's best to perform moving plank work under the watchful eye of a qualified trainer or specialist.
Join us in our Pump & Kegel class on Wednesdays or Sundays at 9:30AM to make sure you are properly protecting your core during your workouts and every day movements from a potential diastasis recti.