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You are pregnant? Why don’t you do belly dance!

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Είσαι έγκυος; Χόρεψε το χορό της κοιλιάς!

You are pregnant? Why don’t you do belly dance!

Belly dance or oriental dance has a history of thousands of years. Women used to dance it at religious ceremonies or celebrations dedicated to fertility. Similar circular movements of the pelvis are also seen in other dances, from other parts of the world, such as the Hawaiian hula, the Ohelo which is the Maori Polynesian dance, the Virgin Dinka dance in Sudan, the Uganda Pygmy dance, the Brazilian samba, the zambra mora of the Andalusian gypsies, and the Latin lambada.

Belly dance can be used as an exercise in pregnancy, as it strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, gives flexibility, but it also has a relaxing effect on the mental status of the expecting mother. When in pregnancy, it should be practised cautiously, and some movements, such as shimmies should be done at low speeds.

Belly dancing is still an excellent exercise for post-partum. The muscles of the abdomen and pelvis can get their tone back, urinary incontinence may be prevented and the bones of the pelvis return to their original position. At the same time, the newborn enjoys both rocking and the soft music when mom dances holding it in her arms.

Belly dance may also improve blood circulation in the pelvic organs and increase the blood flow to the uterus and consequently of the placenta that feeds the embryo with oxygen and nutrients. It helps to maintain flexibility and alignment of the body and avoid back pain, which often afflicts pregnant women as their belly grows and their spine changes shape. Also, the pregnant woman benefits from better oxygenation of the blood through deeper breathing and improved metabolism through aerobic exercise while enjoying relaxation, tranquillity and reduced stress.

Women who want to become pregnant or are already pregnant and wish to start or continue the belly dance should discuss it with their doctor who, if there is no contraindication,  will encourage them to engage in this enjoyable and beneficial physical and recreational activity.