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bellydancing through pregnancy and beyond

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I wanted to start a thread for bellydancers who danced through their pregnancies and beyond.

I'm a beginning tribal bellydancer, though my class is pretty eclectic and we're learning gypsy and indian temple dance as well.

I started these classes before I got pregnant, and at 6 mo. into the pregnancy I'm finding alot of things easier b/c of the increase looseness in my pelvis, but some things like belly rolls are not quite as easy to do. I have good ab tone, but there is only so much that those muscles can do!

I've been reading some stuff online about how bellydancing actually helps keep the "birthing" muscle groups toned and facilitates a smooth birth. has anyone found this to be true? did you feel that bellydancing helped you postpartum?

there is a nice article by professional bellydancer delilah about this topic:


and an interesting older article by someone named morocco:


post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 

trying a link again....

ok, maybe this delilah link will work instead:

post #3 of 13
That first link works, you just need to change the slash between birthdance and html to a dot.

I heard that belly dance does help keep things limbered up in that area, helps kepe the joints moving well, as well. But I have no personal experience to share


post #4 of 13
Hey Lau!

Thank you so much for posting this! I am very interested in bellydancing throughout pregnancy. I have only done a couple of classes years ago, but it came to my attention recently - there was a particular thread on the Midwifery Today site (the doulas area???) that talked about doulas using bellydance as a means to prepare women for labor. I was intrigued. One day I hope to be a midwife - but until then, it's childbirth ed, and I'm trying to get certified as a perinatal fitness instructor with an emphasis on bellydance. So, thank you so much for the links. Also, dh and I plan to try and conceive next spring, so I'd really like to be my own guinnea pig.

How long have you belly danced? You haven't had your child yet, have you? Do you have any other children or is this your first? I'm very interested in finding out how this all is working out for you. BTW, I have one 28mo ds - and would love it if my next labor was a little more, how should I say, short - would love to have something a little less than 62 hours!!!! I wonder if bellydance would help with that.......


post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi Michelle

This is my first baby. I'm due around the equinox in March (21st).

I've been belly dancing off and on for 4 or so years, but until this year I didn't have a regular tribal bellydance class in my area (cincinnati) so my learning was sporadic.

I've been in this class for 8 mo. now. Going once a week for a class that supposedly an hour, but we always run over. I'm really enjoying it. I was the only pregnant student, but 2 weeks ago, a new lady joined us, and she is maybe 8 weeks along. The only problem I've noticed so far is that I have to be careful with my uterine ligaments, if I overexert myself they can cause a pulled feeling in the side of my belly.

salutations to another aspiring midwife. I'm also putting plans on hold until my little one - a surprise partially inspired by some midwife assistant trainings at the Farm I had just been to back in may and june - gets big enough for me leave with family and friends. I can see now how some midwives end up with lots of kids, it's hard not to want to jump on the bandwagon when surrounded by all that great fecund energy.

62 hours is a long labor.... was much of it active labor? I want to do more studying into this, but I would guess that if a long labor was caused by a malpresentation like an OP baby then bellydance could be great for correcting that. Learning how to really open the pelvis, and all that pelvic rocking up and down and side to side could help wiggle the baby into a more favorable position. In any case, you have my utmost respect for perservering with the energy and stamina required for such a length of time.

post #6 of 13
Wow! Another midwife aspirer with bellydancing tendencies!!! (I know, I know, a strange way of putting it! ) Where else would I meet someone like you but on Mothering.com!!!

You got to do some work on the Farm??? Boy, I'd really love to hear about that!! Were you training to be a midwife's assistant or a midwife? In June, I completed Elizabeth Davis' Heart and Hands Midwifery Advanced Intensive (she wrote Heart and Hands - great book if you don't already have it!!!) Anyway, I thought I was going to start at the National Midwifery Institute this fall, but my life got pretty crazy!

You know, during labor Ben, my son, was asynclitic and I was doing a lot of squatting. I didn't know he was asynclitic, but my midwife did. I'm surprised, in retrospect, that she allowed me to keep squatting as long as she did. It was not helping labor progress at all - probably just getting him more wedged in there. If I'd known more about birth (and about belly dancing), I would have tried other positions and I would have been by myself more to listen to what my body was telling me it needed (I had a crowd of people there - mom, grandma, mil, 2 friends, three midwives, dh - I must have been NUTS!!!). I was in early labor for the first 12 hours and the next 45 hours were active labor. I ended up pushed for about 4 and 1/2 hours - but by this time I had transported to the hospital (was in the hospital for the last 12 hours of labor) and was given an epi and pitocin - pretty much as far from my planned homebirth as I could have gotten - short of a c-section! Anyway, I was very glad to have delivered him vaginally - but it was hard. I must say, though, that my son's birth is what propelled me to want to understand birth and become a midwife.

So, that's my story. I really don't think I was in nearly the kind of physical shape that I needed to be in - in some ways. I guess I did okay to survive 62 hours of labor without a c-section. But what I realize I didn't have was looseness in my pelvic floor area - it has always been very tight for me. Next time, running, yoga, bellydancing and swimming (not all in one day, mind you!!!).

I can't wait to hear more!


post #7 of 13
I never took bellydance classes but doing *8* figures with my pelvic really helped me when I gave birth to my son 5 years ago I would stand and rock my pelvic thru each contraction... this and the pressure my DH applied in my lowerback were my pain medication for most of my labour (DS was posterior without us knowing it)
post #8 of 13
I have been going to bellydance classes for the last four months. I call it my "reproductive workout."

I didn't go when I was pregnant. At the time, my very skinny then sister-in-law was in the class and my pregnant self was not up to the comparison.

I hope to go when I am next pregnant.

I decided to look into bellydancing after meeting a woman who danced her way to a VBAC. Not that I had a c/s, just that she attributed her success in part to her dance practice, so I thought that it might be something good.

The class often reminds me of labour. Sometimes when I am tense during the class it reminds me of how tense I was during contractions. I believe that eventually the classes will help me to relax and open up.

I do have one friend who went to the same class when pregnant. She said that some of the moves really hurt her hips.
post #9 of 13
hi mamas, i started a bellydancing class in august and im finding it very healing, im connecting with my own femininity in many levels, and i feel theres lots more amazing surprises down this road.
Im sure it will be of so much help in my next pregnancy and labor.
Good to hear about the belly dancing mamas here
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
thanks for sharing some interesting experiences.

I like the "dancing your way to a VBAC" idea, Dodo, and Valerie.Qc's figure 8s in a posterior labor.

As far as the movements hurting your friend's hips, Dodo - I have heard from another person who is teaching belly dancing specifically to pregnant women, that she is taking it slower than a normal class, because of all the relaxin flowing in the preg. dancers joints. I think it makes a difference if you danced before you got pregnant, or start dancing in the first mo. or so, as opposed to later on. it would be easier to overwork yourself, doing movements that were unfamiliar to you.

as for being not a skinny person.... truth be told I am the skinny person in belly dancing class, and *I* feel self conscious. even with the belly out in front I don't have much that shakes or rolls (ok, my breasts and butt have a bit more bounce to the ounce than they did) and I envy our dancers with full bodies. please don't let that worry stop you again, Dodo!

has anyone found another form of dance to be equally helpful for pregnancy and birth? my teachers are talking about teaching polynesian (sp?) and poi nexy year. lots of hula hip moves.

post #11 of 13
Actually, now I look forward to bellydancing with a big ol' pregnant belly. I lost a lot of weight postpartum and feel kind of bony. The grass is always greener...
post #12 of 13
Very cool ladies!

I never thought of bellydancing during pregnancy, but think it would be a great owrkout and a positive experience, not to mention great prep for childbirth.

If and when we get pregnant I will serious look up any classes in our area!!
post #13 of 13
my teacher also gives polinesian dances, I havent seen them yet but I will ask her about it and pregnancy-labor.
by the way we have this festival coming up next saturday and we'll be doing 2 dances, a drum one and another one with veils.... and Im....mmmm....nervous??
Its such a beautiful dance isnt it? The music is so great too.
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