Functional Progression 3 (aka bird-dog exercise aka quadruped) are all beneficial movements during pregnancy when done correctly. The Bird Dog exercise is a great alternative to the plank because it helps create core stability not only in the ab muscles but also in the hips, pelvic floor and shoulders! Thanks to the long support on the shins, there is also less chance of wonky movements like we do with the plank. An added bonus, this movement can carry over to both the weight room and life (hello walking).
Just as there are pros and cons to planks and a special consideration to form is important during pregnancy, bird-dog form is just as important!
The top picture shows a whoops I see daily, dipping the low back. Just like in the plank, this sagging or dipping in the low back can increase pressure/pain on the low back and abdomen.
The bottom picture is also pretty common. It includes rounding of the back and buttock to tuck the butt under the hips. This is not an ideal position as it almost puts the body into a crunch which can increase pressure on the abdomen and pelvic floor.
The middle picture is a happy medium. We have a neutral spine (the small amount of curve we have when we naturally stand) without tucking the butt under or pushing it into the air. It also keeps the diaphragm and pelvic floor relatively stacked to allow for optimal breathing and expansion…both of which are key to stabilizing the spine during movement.
SLOW IS KEY!
Like most of the movements we do, quality matters far more than quantity. Try to slow your movements, keep your diaphragm and pelvic floor stacked, connect with your breath and don’t forget to breathe throughout the entire movement.