Congratulations! Your expecting a little one!
Aside from the emotional highs and lows, your body is changing rapidly to prepare for childbirth. So what does all this change mean for your belly dance practice?
First of all, belly dance is encouraged by many doctors and communities since the dawn of civilisation during pregnancy. It’s emphasis on gentle, repetitive movements and pelvic work simultaneously strengthen and relax the muscles specifically used for childbirth. Of course, if you have a pregnancy complication, check with your doctor or midwife before dancing.
Before performing a challenging drum solo during pregnancy, there are a few physical changes that you should be aware of.
You may feel out of breath easier than normal. That two minute choreography is suddenly more taxing than you remember. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases 40-50%, resulting in an increased heart rate. Therefore you may need to take lots of little breaks during your workout.
You may also feel light headed or dizzy all of a sudden. This is a result of a decrease in blood pressure. Be mindful when turning and changing positions. You may need to slow down a notch.
Are you performing during your pregnancy? Keep in mind that you may need to go up a bra size. Not only are your breasts getting bigger, but your rib cage is expanding due to the increase in lung volume.
Now is not the time to push your limits. During pregnancy, you have an increase in pain tolerance to prepare for childbirth. So just because you “feel” fine, doesn’t mean the pain isn’t there. Stay within your limits from before pregnancy.
You may feel extra loose and mobile. This is because your ovaries and placenta are producing the hormone, Relaxin, to prepare the lining of the uterus for the baby. Now is not the time to maximise your flexibility or perform large hip movements. Although your ligaments are more mobile at this time, its important to stay within your range of motion from before pregnancy.
You may be feeling a bit more yang these days. Try to stay calm by avoiding stressful competitions and practicing meditation. This will also help when it comes to labor.
With your baby bump, you may feel compelled to sag into a less than beautiful belly dance posture. During your pregnancy, you will need to be more conscious of your posture not just during dance practice, but throughout the day. Make sure your feet are grounded and hip distance apart, your pelvis is naturally tilted down, and shoulders are relaxed while drawing the shoulder blades together.
Most Suitable Belly Dance Moves
- Hip circles: to help put the baby in the right position for birth
- Snake arms: to support your back and spine
- Soft pelvic twists: to relieve muscle tension
- Pelvic figure eights
- Waggle shimmy, or a light hip/knee shimmy
- Egyptian basic step: helps to relieve knee pain from weight gain
Be Extra Mindful during these Belly Dance Moves or Styles
- Fast changes of direction, such as twists and turns
- Vigorous drum solos with aggressive hip locks
- Level changes may be difficult
- Back bends
- Standing or shimmying on one leg
- Hops and jumps may be damaging to your joints and put pressure on your pelvic floor.
Overall, listen to your body and avoid movements that cause any pain or discomfort.
Share with us your experience belly dancing while pregnant in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!