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Belly Dancing and Pregnancy

The amount and type of exercise you do in your pregnancy is relative to the amount and type of exercise you did prior to falling pregnant…so if you have been doing belly dancing for a while before falling pregnant you will probably be able to continue at the same intensity compared to someone who is taking it up for the first time. If you are new to belly dance, be guided by your teacher and proceed carefully.

And remember…you know your body better than anyone else – so if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!

Benefits of Belly Dancing in Pregnancy

  • Promotes good posture
  • Helps maintain general fitness

  • Improved coordination, balance and flexibility

  • Regulates hormones and blood circulation

  • Improves abdominal control and awareness

  • Relieves back ache during pregnancy and promotes healthy labour

  • Helps maintain pelvic floor tone through connection with deep abdominals

  • Non jarring/non contact activity

  • Encourages acceptance of body shape

  • May help with constipation and varicose veins
  • Promotes a youthful radiant complexion

  • Social and fun

Precautions with Belly Dance in Pregnancy

  • Avoid or take care with movements that accentuate a deep lumbar curve
  • Avoid back bends
  • Maintain a neutral pelvic tilt (i.e tuck your tailbone under)
  • Be aware of the softening of the ligaments in your body, especially the pelvic region, and therefore the increased risk of ligament strain

  • Avoid sudden changes of direction

  • Avoid jumping and vigorous shaking

  • Take care with hip twists (avoid or soften them)

  • Avoid sharp movements - you may need to soften your hip drops/ lifts/ flicks

  • Make sure you know how to co-contract your deep abdominals and pelvic floor muscles for stability and support

  • Don’t overheat – don’t exercise on hot humid days, keep up fluid intake

  • Stop exercising if you develop pain, bleeding, faintness or otherwise feel unwell

  • Take as many breaks as your body needs

  • Be sure to tell your instructor you're pregnant, and which trimester you're in

When Belly Dance is coupled with gentle feminine yoga, you are encouraging breath and relaxation, which in turn can help you adjust to the physical demands of pregnancy, labor, birth, and motherhood. It calms both mind and body, providing the physical and emotional stress relief your body needs throughout pregnancy. Not to mention, it is a beautiful way to connect within and very nurturing for both yourself and your child. And as usual, always seek your own medical advise if you have any concerns about your pregnancy.

Ozlem Ozyucekok, 4 November 2016

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