All women should be encouraged to exercise a small amount throughout their pregnancy. It is important to stay fit whilst pregnant, since you are not only looking after your own health but your baby’s too. There are many benefits to be had when you dance throughout your pregnancy, although as with any exercise it should be done in moderation so there is no risk to yourself or your baby.
Dancing is an extremely fun way of exercising, so can really lift your mood when perhaps your emotions are running a bit wild. Since it is fun, it is easier to do then going to the gym, yet will have all the same positive effects, such as keeping your muscles toned and body stretched.
Dancing in your first trimester
The first three months of your pregnancy are extremely important since you are at greatest risk of miscarriage. With this in mind you obviously need to be precautionary and never do anything too excessive. Generally though, you should be able to dance just as you normally do. The biggest thing to keep in mind when dancing in your first trimester is you must warm-up properly.
Everyone needs to warm-up before exercise but when pregnant it is even more important to make sure your muscles and joints are warmed up before exercise, since it will help your heart beat speed up at a slower rate, instead of going from normal to escalated right away. Warming up will also help to ensure you don’t sprain anything or injure yourself in any way, which is obviously crucial if you are to remain in a healthy state for your baby.
When dancing in your first trimester, it is generally recommended you should always be able to talk, therefore if you find yourself out of breath and unable to carry on talking, you must slow down. Always try to keep at least one foot on the ground, as this will ensure your dancing is relatively low impact. Ultimately, listen to your body. If your dancing is affecting you in a negative manner, it’s your body’s way to telling you to slow down or perhaps stop altogether.
Dancing in your second and third trimesters
One of the biggest things to take into account when dancing during your second and third trimesters is how much your centre of gravity will have shifted because of your growing belly. This means your balance will have altered a lot. At the best of times, people are quite clumsy when they’re dancing, often tripping over their own feet or other people’s!
With this in mind, you’ve got to pay more attention to your own feet and keep your dancing at a pace where you feel balanced and safe. It’s a good idea to steer clear of dance styles which require extremely jerky and jumpy movements, since these will be throwing your baby around inside you, which won’t be very comfortable and can also lead to balance issues.
Best dance styles for pregnancy
Unfortunately many dance styles are simply not ideal for pregnancy. For instance, even though ballroom dancing can be relatively slow-paced, the close-up nature needed with a partner is just too uncomfortable and will inhibit your dancing, as well as your freedom of movement. Likewise, dance styles that require a lot of jumping and hip movements, will not be good for your body or your baby since they put a lot of added pressure on your joints and ligaments.
The best styles are those that are slow-paced whilst at the same time energetic enough to keep you fit and toned. If you are pregnant and want to keep dancing, look at taking up ballet since you can do this throughout your entire pregnancy and use the barre for support as you become more imbalanced with your growing bump. Jazz and salsa dancing are also ideal for pregnant women since they don’t really require you to jump around.
Ultimately, only do what you are comfortable with. You really need to take care of your body and make sure you are not forcing your body into rotations and movements that push it too much. If in any doubt, always check with your doctor and the dance class instructor.
Laura writes for Danceforce. When not writing about dance bags, she can often be found dancing to music no one else can hear.