While some pregnant women do yoga or take walks outside, others do not practice physical activity. Ideally, when you’re expecting a baby, you shouldn’t let exercise take a back seat. In fact, according to the National Health Service, if you stay fit and active during pregnancy, it will be easier for you to adjust to your weight gain and cope with labor. Daily physical activities such as yoga, dancing and walking are highly recommended as long as you feel comfortable. Some even suggest duck walking, which involves adopting a low, partially crouched position and walking slowly forward. Even though it was popularized by rock ‘n’ roll guitarist Chuck Berry in the 1950s, the duck walk is still practiced by many fitness enthusiasts. But should pregnant women do the duck walk?
To get the answer, Health Shots connected with Kavita Singh, Physiotherapist and Lactation Expert, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, New Delhi, East Delhi.
What is the duck walk?
Simply put, when you take the duck walk, you do look like a duck! It may sound a bit funny, but it’s a good exercise for the lower limbs. This helps strengthen and stretch your lower leg muscles, Singh says. The duck walk exercise essentially offers several benefits for lower body strength, mobility, and coordination. It mainly targets the quadriceps and buttocks. Performing this exercise regularly can help strengthen these muscle groups, leading to improved leg and butt strength and muscle endurance.
The duck walk requires maintaining a low squat position during the movement, which can increase muscular endurance in the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. It challenges these muscles to maintain the squat position and improve walking motion, mobility and flexibility.
Duck walk during pregnancy: safe or not?
Pregnancy and childbirth are very physically demanding. You need a lot of body strengthening and stretching. Expert says you can do the duck walk while pregnant, but that should be changed. Duck walking can help during the third trimester, which is after the 34th week of pregnancy. This is the moment marked by the final stretch, as you prepare for the birth of your baby. As the fetus continues to grow in size and weight, you may feel more uncomfortable and gain weight.
As for the modification, it is done because during pregnancy, your body releases the hormone relaxin. It helps soften the body and joints to make room for the baby. Duck walking can put pressure on the abdominal area, so it is changed during pregnancy. When carrying a baby, it is important to improve the tone and elasticity of the pelvic muscles. This allows for proper positioning of the baby in the pelvis, shortens the duration of labor and decreases the chances of labor induction. The duck walk exercise helps to do just that with opening up the hips and also strengthens the muscles in the thighs making the birthing experience easier.
Modified duck walk during pregnancy
To take the duck walk while pregnant, follow these steps:
• Get on your knees. You can place a pillow under the knee for support.
• Place one foot on the floor so that your hip opens 90 degrees and to the side.
• Try to touch your knees.
• Start taking small baby steps forward and diagonal to your body. Make sure your legs are wide and your feet are touching the ground firmly.
• Once you have completed 10 stages, you can rest. Do this exercise as long as you have the necessary strength and endurance.
The expert specifies that this exercise should ideally be carried out when your doctor tells you that your baby’s head is fixed in the pelvis. You can increase the number of accounts as you start to gain strength. You might experience muscle pain the next day, but that’s nothing to worry about.
Stop taking the duck walk immediately if:
• You feel pain in the vagina, pelvis or groin.
• You experience abdominal discomfort or period-like pain.
• You feel short of breath.
• There is leakage or bleeding from your vagina.
• There is a hip and spine injury.
You can include the duck walk in any prenatal exercise of your choice. But before embarking on this exercise, it is important to consult your doctor.