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Ballet after childbirth

Guest Lizzy

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I originally posted this in Nutrition and Health but it was suggested I also post it here.


I had a baby 3 months ago and I am just now starting to feel I could cope with some kind of regular sustained exercise. During pregnancy my joints became looser, which could be a good thing, or a bad thing (!) and I am still experiencing some weakness and loss of strength in my knees. Can anyone advise me on what I should avoid or how to rebuild strength in this area? Are there any books or articles on returning to ballet class after pregnancy? I should stress, I am not a professional dancer by any means, it is just for fun and fitness although at my peak I was taking professonal level classes.



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Hi, Lizzy. I've both taken ballet and resumed sports training/competition after having my two babies. I would say, in my experience, it took a good six months before my joints felt quite like their old selves. The temptation is to take advantage of the looseness to gain more flexibility, but it doesn't work like that. Things will tighten back up to what they normally would be, and you just have to give it time. Don't push anything to 100 percent during this time is my best advice, and wait until things do feel stable before you do push it hard again.


In the meanwhile, though, there is a great and very simple exercise that corrected and prevented the little knee pains that occurred during this pregnancy-recovery time. The most at-risk ligament in that area always seems to be the anterior cruciate ligament, better known as the ACL. It's on the outside of the knee joint. To keep it healthy and get it stronger, you stand facing a barre or chair, holding onto it and feet in parallel. Gently swing one leg first across the front of your body, then back out to the side like a pendulum. No need to go fast or to try and get height with each swing, just very gentle, back and forth. Do it about 20 times on each side before you do any other exercising. It never feels like you're really doing something but I can swear to you it works!


Best of luck and hope you're enjoying your new baby! :)

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Thanks, that is exactly the sort of advice I was looking for. You mean like a mini battement cloche?


Yes I love having my new baby, he is adorable and he has such long legs I am sure he will be a dancer of some kind although my husband is hoping for a baseball player.

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You mean like a mini battement cloche?


Yep, but don't do it with the same kind of rigor or muscle tension. Just easy and relaxed. Like I said, it doesn't feel like it's doing much of anything for you, but somehow it does. And if you start feeling pain in the knees during a workout or class, stop, do this exercise and then resume.


I honestly found ballet to be the best post-pregnancy activity I've ever done because it is SO good at making you rebuild stomach strength and getting good posture back. And most of that little mommy "pooch-belly" is just bad posture!


oh, and long limbs on the babe -- my swim coach husband would insist I put a bid in for swimming! Very compatible with dancing, too! :wink:


cheers in the new year!


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I was in the same situation as you -- it's tough to come back and it takes so long. My baby is 11 mos now and I'm still working on the strength issues. I found that crosstraining helps (ex: treadmill, pilates, crunches, etc). Pilates helps the most because it builds all the right muscles in the right way. It's not easy but you know what they say -- each journey begins w/ a single step...


The hardest part to get rid of is having the weight too far back. Somehow carrying the baby reinforces bad posture, so as long as your baby is small enough to be carried, balancing and pirouettes will suffer.



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Especially if you try to carry the baby while doing the pirouette! :wink:

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Thanks Duckie. I know exactly what you mean, I have caught myself leaning back most of the time when I'm carrying the baby, which as well as being bad posture is also killing my back!

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