Belly Dancing in Pregnancy

Did you know???

Belly dancing is a middle-eastern dance form that was developed centuries ago to help pregnant mothers have a smooth pregnancy and childbirth The modern day belly dancing has evolved from this sacred art practiced for thousands of years. It is communal dance that celebrates

womanhood, community and becoming a mother using slow, rhythmic movements that help the woman get in touch with her deepest self. 

Benefits of Belly dancing in pregnancy:

  • Strengthening core pelvic muscles: Belly dance movements comprise of hip movements that use the abdominal and pelvic muscles in isolation. The movements are such that the muscles are put to optimal stretch without over-exercising them. 

  • Loosening pelvic joints: belly dancing uses isolated joint movements and works on the hip joints, sacro-iliac joints and the pubic symphysis. These joints collective form the pelvic bone. During childbirth, these joints move apart to give space for the baby to descend. Belly dancing prepares the pelvis for this purpose

  • Relieves back pain during pregnancy and improves circulation in the pelvic area and legs. It helps to relieve any water retention and swelling in the legs which is commonly seen in pregnancy.

  • Relaxation: The songs are hypnotic and provide extreme relaxation to the mother. It also helps during the first stage of labour to manage pain and accelerate labour pains.

  • Rotate the baby in the optimal position for childbirth. Belly movements specifically help rotate the baby naturally into the optimal position. 

  • Pain relief during labour

  • Inducing or accelerating labour pains. Belly dance movementsx

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  • are specifically helpful when the pains are not growing properly and the labour is not progressing well. It acts both on mind and body to help relax the uterine muscles to contract coherently. 

  • Improves self-confidence and body image: Belly dancing is all about falling in love with yourself. It makes you feel confident as a woman and as a mother and makes you accept yourself wholeheartedly. 

  • Accelerates post-partum recovery process and help prevent uterine prolapsed after birth.

  • Gives expectant mothers a sense of community and companionship

 

Some precautions:

  • Please consult your doctor before starting belly dancing. Extra precaution is needed in high risk pregnancies. Gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia or obesity are not contraindications to belly dancing but precautionary measures need to be taken to make sure the strain is minimal. 

  • Look for a teacher and avoid practicing yourself if you do not know the basics of belly dancing

  • All movements should be slow and gentle. Fast and sharp movements should be avoided.

  • Always respect your body. If you experience any pain, discomfort or dizziness during the session stop and rest. Do not push yourself through the pain

  • Keep yourself hydrated and snack after the session

 

My (Dr. Shruti's) personal experience

I had a natural home-birth and belly dancing was one of my exercise routines during pregnancy preparation. I was trained as a belly dancer prior to my pregnancy and that knowledge helped me tweak the belly dance moves to suit my pregnancy related needs. The hip circles and rotations immensely helped me immensely to relieve stiffness and pain in my back. Not only that, I hardly felt any pain till the time my baby was ready to pop-out and I attribute this to the active lifestyle I tried to maintain during pregnancy. Post the birth, I could resume yoga and belly dancing within 4-5 months and regain my pelvic strength in a very short time.

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