Q ~ I am pregnant. I heard that bellydance will be good for me. Is this true?

NO! Not necessarily. Starting ANY new physical activity when pregnant is a potential risk. Your body undergoes immediate, important, unexpected changes while pregnant.  Your health status and the needs of your body can change quickly.   Check with your caregiver that you are in a general state of fitness.  You should ALWAYS fill out the Par-Med-X for Pregnancy form with your caregiver BEFORE you enroll in a class, and if the instructor says you don’t need one or has never heard of this, be warned that person probably has no idea how to monitor pregnant participants.   You are also responsible for a whole other tiny person who has no ability to say “stop please”.A bellydance class may be similar to a low-impact aerobics class or yoga in terms of cardio-vascular and muscular strain. Your joints and connective tissues pregnant in cairo (4)will be softer and more prone to injury. The kinds of movements we do may, fact, cause and/or worsen pulls, strains,  and pains.   Your blood pressure and pulse rate need to closely monitored.
Done correctly, under the guidance of a trained, experienced teacher, some movements in Middle Eastern dance can help strengthen the pelvic floor, abdomen, back and hips. (There are no training courses that I know of for prenatal bellydance instruction. No systematic study of its relative safety or risk has been done.) So, if you are already dancing, it may help your pregnancy and labour.

However, the same movements done incorrectly or without modification and monitoring may de-stabilize the pelvic bones and muscles, injure the lower back, and cause tearing in the connective tissues of the lower body, already under strain.  Of special concern is the round ligament (attaches the uterus to the spine), the central anterior pelvic connection, and the abdominal muscles (separation of).  Your feet can also take a beating.   If you have any complications such as PIH, diabetes, or placenta previa, you should be under the watchful eye of a certified prenatal fitness instructor.

Women of the Arab world have grown up with this dance form, over many generations. The dance’s roots in birthing preparation are proposed to be ancient. But if you haven’t grown up dancing it, belly dancing may be no more helpful or safe for you than any other dance class. It may help you feel more accepting of your new, round, shape, and to feel more beautiful and womanly in general.  I have met many dancers who felt just the opposite–that bellydance made them feel silly and ungraceful.

Make an informed choice under guidance.

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