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Pregnancy and Ballet

Guest scuffite

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Guest scuffite

I am in the very early stages of pregnancy (starting 7 weeks now) and am 32 years old. I have been taking classes for 20 months now and have been doing at least 4 classes a week for the last 4 months. My doctor says that I can continue ballet but to stop the jumps. All the western books promote exercise during pregnancy too but the Asian mentality is basically ballet is off-limits for the whole pregnancy period, which put me in a conundrum for some time. I would love to hear from anyone, particularly those who have been through it or the teachers, as to:


1) should I do ballet in my first 3 months, supposedly the most fragile period?

2) what exercises did you stop doing and at what stage?

3) did you encounter any problems? did it affect the pregnancy?

4) at maximum, how many classes should I do a week?


I went for my first class after confirmation of the pregnancy, yesterday. The teacher was great about it and very supportive (and discrete!). Jumps at the barre were changed to passes for me and I sat out the jumps in the centre. Another question here: what is the right etiquette when I have finished my portion of the class? I continued staying in the room, stretching quietly at a spot behind the teacher (where I am not in anyone's way), and mentally dancing with my fellow students! Should I leave the room and observe from outside through the glass wall instead?


For the first few exercises at the barre, the right side of my abdomen felt a little sore (it had been for the past week - I am not sure but it could be due to the open surgery at around that spot I had 7 years back for ovarian cyst) and I could not do back bends properly. However, after that and especially by the time we have moved to the centre, the right abdomen muscle had tightened and did not feel sore.


As it is all the Asians whom I have consulted (apart from the doc) are terribly shocked that I am continuing..... which makes me feel very guilty, esp if something goes wrong. But it is just so difficult to give up ballet, even if for a few months!


Thank you in advance for the advice!

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Scuffite, I am not at all an expert on this, but my experience in teaching has been that, as long as the student is in shape and has been dancing regularly, as you have, and the doctor says it's okay, then it seems like taking classes but with the modifications that are necessary, such as jumps, then it should be okay. I know that most professional dancers continue dancing throughout most of the pregnancy, however they are, of course, in excellent shape.


As to the etiquette, there is no rule on this, but as a teacher I would always prefer a student to remain in the room and watch and learn, even if she cannot do that part of the class. :shrug:

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There have been several pregnant students in my classes, and most seem to have taken class until veeeery close to delivery, with adjustments as needed (eg, no jumping if/when it becomes difficult or uncomfortable).


As for leaving/staying, it all depends on your teacher and also on the class-if the last of the class is nearly all jumping and you prefer to leave, that shouldn't be a big deal. If you want to stay and watch/stretch, seems to me that would be OK too. After all (sadly), most adult classes are not the type where you should be watching every class even if you can't dance because new things are being presented in a sequence.

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I continued to dance during both of my pregnancies. Mydoctor's instructions were, that since my pregnancies were not considered "high-risk" I was able to continue classes. Toward the end body let me know what I could and could not do (hips loosening and weight on bladder eliminated large jumps), although I was known to hook my hands under my belly and keep going right through petite allegro. If you are healthy and having a normal pregnancy you should be able to continue dancing. Do what you can and listen to your body. Also listen to your doctor and limit jumping and stretching.

Don't push too hard or over-exert. Congratulations on your baby!

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My experience was the same as ce's. I danced right up to the last couple of weeks of both pregnancies. (Iwas also back to class within about 6 weeks.) I didn't stop jumping until my body made it clear it was time. Turns were funny!!!! Have fun and congratulations!

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I have a friend who was teaching an adult class when she felt THE CALL! She announced to the women, "OK, I finish class, and then I go have the baby." And the women all tried to get the class done in the fastest possible way, as Herci would not leave before finishing class! Didn't have much of a detrimental effect, I guess, as mother and son are still dancing today! (That baby ended up in NYCB)

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My experience was similar to ce and old shoe's. I danced throughout my pregnancy as well (I was 28). My doctor was not concerned about it since I was considered "low risk." He basically told me to listen to my body because I was already very active and was not adding something new. I was able to continue doing pretty much everything with modifications toward the end and I did pointe until my third month (I was getting too many foot cramps!). The only thing the doctor mentionned was that with the pregnancy hormones, your joints can become very loose so I needed to be aware and not overstretch. One thing I noticed was that my turns greatly improved when I had a big belly, a big clue to me that I tend to lean back when I turn! :lol: And by the way, I am Asian-American and I am not at all shocked that you are continuing! :D

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If you are healthy and having a normal pregnancy, keep dancing! I continued with ballet till the last month with 2 pregnancies. Those last 3 weeks I had neither the desire nor the energy. A third pregnancy I did not dance due to a pulmonary problem-- all excercise was contraindicated that time around. It has been my experience that the stretching and movement in ballet actually helped some of the less pleasant pregnancy symptoms. For instance, I found that a ballet class really helped a lower back ache and leg cramps.

Like some others, I found it fun to do turns. I kept doing jumps without a problem, though they became lower as I got heavier! I think I stopped pointe at about 5 months if I remember correctly. My doctor was very supportive and practical---if it hurts, stop doing it. If it overheats you, stop doing it. If it makes you overly tired, stop doing it. If you feel good, go ahead! I was 36 for the first pregnancy and had been taking ballet for 1 year. I was 41 for the last one and I truely believe that ballet was one of the reasons that I felt as good and as energetic as I did.

Physical activity that you have been doing all along in a normal person with a normal pregnancy is not going to harm the fetus. Follow your doctor's advice and listen to your own body. Don't pay attention to what others say. I actually had someone try to tell me that stretching my arms above my head (as in port de bras) would strangle the baby because it would cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby's neck! :wacko: !!! Who knew the cord was attached to my arms!!

Anyway, you can hear all kinds of nonsense from people who mean well but are kind of clueless, so listen to your doctor.

And congratulations!!!!!!!! :D:D:D Enjoy every minute!

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I actually had someone try to tell me that stretching my arms above my head (as in port de bras) would strangle the baby because it would cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby's neck! :D !!!  Who knew the cord was attached to my arms!!

You hear lots of things from people when you're pregnant, but I've never heard that one before! Too funny! :D

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