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Belly Dancing After Birth

Updated on September 4, 2010



This article is about the benefits of belly dancing to work out your waistline and develop your abdominal muscle tone after it’s been stretched from pregnancy.


After giving birth to my new son back in March of 2010, I was eager to get back into belly dancing. I needed the balance back in my life and I wanted my pre-pregnancy body back.  This journey was a little hard as I ended up having a cesarean, and therefore my eagerness to get into shape was halted with a doctor’s order to do nothing for 6 weeks.  Now, looking back on this, I did push myself a little fast and, five months after giving birth, my incision is still a little tender, but my muscle tone is making its way back. 


Depending on what type of birth you had, you should definitely check with your physician before starting any exercise routine after you have given birth.  Not only will you be exhausted with your newborn, you need to give your body the proper rest and recovery it needs. 


For belly dancing after you’ve given birth, I’d wait for at least 6 weeks, cesarean or not.  If your physician says you can start earlier, then you can, but take it easy and have fun!


The first thing I started doing was walking.  Before giving birth and becoming pregnant, I walked at least 5 times per week for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  This was easier to start doing as I brought the little one with me so we got out together (and it put him to sleep almost every time).  Walking is great to get your joints moving again and moving them back into position after they’ve carried additional weight for 9 months.


Once you start walking, then start to add in your belly dancing movements at home.  I also found that my little one loved to both watch me dance and loved when I danced with him.  It’s something you can do together.


I incorporated shimmies, pops, snake and butterfly arms, shoulder shimmies, hip sits, hip accents, upper torso movements, figure 8s, and baladi pushes into my starting routine.  I waited until my abs were slightly stronger to get into camel walks, undulations, and sandwiches. 


But what really helped in getting my muscle tone back was the following nightly routine.  Before bed, and after you’ve put the little one down for the night, take 5 minutes for yourself and do 100 crunches.  At first, you may have to break them into sets of 20 or 25, but then work on doing 50 crunches straight, then rest, and do another 50.  NOTE:  An effective crunch will cause you to move at least 6 inches from the floor.  Remember to support your head and neck and exhale as you raise your upper body, inhale as you return to the floor.  In addition to the crunches, add in lower abdomen crunches (keeping your upper body on the floor and crunching your legs into your tummy) to work your lower abs.  This was very difficult for me with the incision so if you’ve had a c-section, be very careful doing this.  You may want to wait a little longer to ensure you’ve healed fully.


One thing to remember, no matter how much weight  you put on during pregnancy, it came on slowly and will take some time to come off.  Bring back some balance in your life by taking some time for you.  Put on some Arabic beats and dance baby dance!



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    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 7 years ago from Sydney

      Welcome to another belly dancer!

      Just a word of caution about crunches - some women develop a gap in their abdominal muscles (down the center) during pregnancy. If you start doing crunches, or ANY stomach exercises before that gap has closed, you have a high risk of injury (and you may even prevent it closing, so you'll have a permanent saggy belly). It can take 6 weeks for it to close up.

      None of my belly dancer friends have ever had that separation, so they've been able to get back into crunches far quicker - which just goes to show how good belly dancing is for you!