As you all know I have always been very active, Whether I’d be dancing or at the gym I have always been very concern with staying fit and healthy. Nothing has changed now that I am pregnant except the hours I put in and the type of activities I do. I use to work out about 4-5 days a week, I went down to 2-3 days a week. When I don’t feel as tired I try to do more.
Recently I started belly dancing at Continental Dance Studio. Belly dance is said to be the oldest form of dancing, having roots in ancient cultures from the orient to India and the Middle East. Belly Dancing was actually started for women in pregnancy and labor Centuries ago. Belly dance involves doing slow wave-like and rolling motions, such as hip circles and figure-of-eight movements. Many women in labor naturally move in the circular motion of belly dance which is a natural way to get your baby in the best position for birth and it may even encourage labor to start.
In ancient times, during labor women would gather around pregnant women and belly dance. The rhythm and music was spellbinding and would keep labor pains off her mind and help focus on the birth process. There are several benefits of belly dancing throughout pregnancy, below I have listed a few of them.
Benefits of belly dancing during pregnancy
- Belly dancing uses some of the major muscle groups that are also used during labor.
- The moves that consist of sways and hip drops work the pelvic and abdominal muscles.
- Relieves stress and great for relaxation.
- When done properly is known to naturally move the baby into the right position for birth.
- Improve self-confidence and positive body-image.
- Encourage a good posture.
- Helps maintain general fitness.
- Promote good balance and co-ordination.
- Relieves pregnancy back pain.
- Improves abdominal control and awareness.
- Helps maintain pelvic floor tone and reduced the chances of uterine prolapsed.
- Babies at 20 weeks and beyond can enjoy music played (which has been found to calm and relax newborns when hearing the same song from when in The uterus)
There are also some precautions one should take which I listed a few below. Make sure to follow safety procedures and consult with your doctor before engaging in any physical activity.
Precautions for belly dancing during pregnancy
- Avoid any sharp, sudden and quick movements. Always choose a slow rhythmic music.
- To avoid any ligament, tear always keep your knees bent ‘soft’ and not locked.
- Avoid back bends, sharp hip twists and jumps.
- Shimmies aren’t recommended since they can stimulate your baby.
- Keep yourself hydrated during and after the dance.
- If you feel sick, over exhausted, dizzy or in any kind of pain. Consult your doctor again before continuing.
- Don’t forget to have a snack some time before, do not exercise while hungry.
Join our class with Leila Shimmies every other saturday at 12 noon. Visit Continental Dance Studio for more information.