Belly Dancing for Pregnancy

Belly dance is a great preparation for childbirth, because it strengthens the pelvic and deep abdominal muscles, giving you better support for the baby during pregnancy and an easier labor. Stronger abdominal muscles also means your tummy will regain its tone more quickly after the birth.

I'm not suggesting you head for your nearest bellydance school and start shimmying, though! Because belly dance moves are so focussed in the pelvic area, you shouldn't expect to do the same moves as everyone else, even if you've been a student for some time. If you want to attend a normal class, it's a good idea to phone the teacher beforehand and make sure she knows what precautions to take for pregnant women.

If you've been told you shouldn't start a new type of exercise when you're pregnant, don't worry - belly dance is an exception to this rule, because it's low-impact, non-jarring and the moves are natural to the body.

However there are certain moves which shouldn't be done in early pregnancy, so it's wise to stick to specialised prenatal workouts, like the ones in the DVDs below.

If you're trying to learn belly dance before you try for a baby, I can recommend Suspira's beginner bellydance DVD.

Amira - Yoga and Stretch

Amira's Belly Dance & Yoga For Pregnancy Prenatal Exercise
Amira's Belly Dance & Yoga For Pregnancy Prenatal Exercise

Amira's pregnancy bellydancing DVD is very gentle with an emphasis on stretching rather than belly dancing. I wouldn't call it a workout, and it uses only a few basic belly dance moves - but if you're feeling stiff and sore, this is a good way to relax and get comfortable again.

The video clip shows Amira herself at 5 months.

 

Naia - For Pregnant Belly Dancers

Naia's prenatal belly dancing DVD is for you if you have belly dance experience, because Naia assumes you already know the basic moves.

Prenatal Bellydance, with Naia - Traditional Belly Dance in preparation for childbirth, Belly dance instruction for expectant mothers
Prenatal Bellydance, with Naia - Traditional Belly Dance in preparation for childbirth, Belly dance instruction for expectant mothers

This is a gentle cardio workout and unlike Amira's DVD, it is ALL about belly dance! The workout is around 25 minutes and there's extensive information on prenatal health.

In this excerpt (below) Naia herself is in her third trimester.

Recommended for women who have already done one or two terms of belly dance.

 

Maha el Musa - for Belly Dancers

With Maha el Musa's "Dance of the Womb", we're moving out of the realm of workouts and on to a different plane altogether!

Maha's book is more than just exercise - it's a physical and emotional journey through pregnancy. I'm delighted she has now produced a DVD, because it's so much easier to copy routines correctly from a moving image than from a photo.

The emphasis here is not about creating a workout that avoids dangerous belly dance moves, but about using belly dance, physically and spiritually, to support and prepare the body for childbirth.

Points to Watch

If you have any of the following conditions, you shouldn't belly dance (or do any other exercise) without a doctor's permission:

  • Placenta previa
  • Vaginal bleeding (2nd or 3rd trimester only)
  • Gestational diabetes

If you have a previous history of miscarriage, don't belly dance before 20 weeks.

Moves to Avoid

  • Shimmies (save them for labor!)
  • When you're getting close to term, be careful with any pelvic moves - they can stimulate labor.

And finally, some clips of pregnant belly dancers - including one of my favourite Australian bellydancers, Aradia.

*

All text copyright Marisa Wright. Photo by kptice

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Comments 14 comments

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 19 months ago from Home Sweet Home

wow, but i think after 6 months, moms shouldn't do this, pretty risky


Classic Residency profile image

Classic Residency 4 years ago

Too good. This is the first time I am reading about pregnant belly dancers. I liked it


TattoGuy 6 years ago

Yeah I know what you mean I am currently firing a tattoo website onto the first page of google and yahoo but my next project is a Forum to beat all Forums, I did it before but lost interest but now thanks to here I have learnt so much, anyway good luck with yer websites !


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 6 years ago from Sydney Author

You're right Art - I have done about a dozen recently, which is good for me. What you don't see is I'm trying to get my websites fired up, seems I could be making more with them too.


TattoGuy 6 years ago

Jeeez why am I reading about pregnant belly dancers, even worse is why am I finding it erotic, I really worry about me, I really do. Nice hub Marissa and tis about time ya got yer ass into gear and starting firing out hubs again, I know for a fact ya cud be doubling yer adsense so come on girl x


Iðunn 6 years ago

nice. :) so there is hope.

I don't have the kind of money for real lessons but maybe I can pick up some books or vids. possibly youtube might have, geeze, they have everything.

I was trying to learn something called jumpstyle off it, not doing too bad with that, and also c-walk, but on that one, I'm too lazy to put the time in and it's complicated. It might be beyond my coordination level.


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 6 years ago from Sydney Author

Yes Iðunn, most doctors will tell you not to take up any new forms of exercise when you're pregnant. They know nothing about belly dance and don't realise it's the exception.

And you're certainly not too old to start again now - I started at 50! The oldest student I've met is in her mid-70's and still flaunting it in red sequins.


Iðunn 6 years ago

I wish I had had your advice on the healthiness of belly dancing when I was pregnant the first time. I had been married a little over a year and was just starting to take belly dancing classes and found out I was finally pregnant (had given up).

My doctor told me not to take it up new at that time. I never did get back to it and I'm sorry that I didn't. It was really fun and the costumes are to die for.

Excellent hub~

I wonder if I am too old to start now, for exercise.


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 6 years ago from Sydney Author

Hope she likes it Sunforged! It's good for the birth too - one of my belly dance teacher friends delivered recently and she choreographed an entire routine during labor...


sunforged profile image

sunforged 6 years ago from Sunforged.com

Great timing, im carrying the laptop to my fiancé at this moment. She is 26 weeks right now, pre-natal yoga didn't really interest her, this should be more her style.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

This would have been good information to know when a friend of mine went 3 1/2 weeks overdue! I'll be sure to mention it to her, if there's a next time. :)


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 6 years ago from australia

I have always wanted to take this up. I think belly-dancing is amazing and the costumes are even more amazing.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Amazing being able to belly dance while pregnant.


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

Wow..amazing..thank you for this hub. I love it.

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    Marisa Wright2,803 Followers
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    Marisa Wright is an Australian writer and dancer with nearly 40 years' experience in ballet, jazz, flamenco, ballroom, Latin and bellydance.



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