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ViolaDancer

Pregnant Adult Dancers

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ViolaDancer

I haven't seen this posted anywhere yet, so I thought I would start a thread for those of us in a unique place in our dance lives.

 

 

Background on me:

I danced from age 3-15 and had to stop when my rheumatoid arthritis couldn't keep up with my dance life anymore. I returned at age 25 which I thought I would never be able to do knowing that starting a family was a goal I had as well.

 

 

And now I am almost 4 months pregnant with my first and hoping to keep dancing through pregnancy and raising my kiddo(s). I was wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation and how it worked for you. I have been fortunate enough to not have had any sickness whatsoever, so that hasn't affected my class activity. I know my balance will be affected and as this year wraps up I will probably need to take a break for awhile since we don't have classes through the summer aside from a few weeks of short studio intensives.

 

 

I already talked to my director and she is excited and will work with me in the fall to get me into the appropriate class. Until then I will continue as much as I can until I can't anymore.

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LaFilleSylphide

I've encountered many dancers who danced through pregnancy. It depends on how sick or weak you feel, I suppose. It always seemed quite normal to me, and rather funny in a cute way as we track the progress of the baby through class. At our school, we've had 3 teachers that have taught and danced through pregnancy and stuck with it until it was time for maternity leave! I've only really known one dancer that had to stop and resume because she had issues with morning sickness (except not only in the morning if you know what I mean). She eventually came back to classes after her nausea issues resolved. All of my friends have happy, healthy babies!

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jsmyrnos

I danced while pregnant with 2 out of 3 of my kids. I was too sick with the middle child to be able to do much (I blame it on the boy hormones :grinning: ) I performed 3 weeks before I had my first daughter- nothing too major, just some modern/contemporary pieces. I just took it easy with the jumps as I got further along. My pirouettes were amazing with all the counterbalancing weight out in front.

 

It was hard to keep up with regular classes when they were really little. Now that they are all older and do well with a babysitter, I have more time to take class.

Edited by jsmyrnos

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RobynC

I don't have any personal experience with this, but our local Ballet Facebook group had a recent discussion on this issue. To summarise the advice, some of it from medical professionals, is that if it's painful or uncomfortable, don't do it! Be careful as your pregnancy progresses and that relaxin hormone kicks in, not to overdo it. Everything becomes soft and stretchy and you could possibly injure yourself more easily. Check with your doctor/obstetrician, take it easy so that you're not getting your heart rate up too high, be very careful even early on about over-stretching (i.e. don't stretch beyond where you could get to before you were pregnant), don't attempt anything you weren't already doing before the pregnancy (i.e. if you were only doing 2 classes a week, don't suddenly start doing 6!), be careful of your balance as your centre will be constantly changing, and listen to your body! Many of the people commenting on the topic had danced well into their pregnancies with no problem; In fact, one of my classmates was actually in labour in class with her first baby! She had a bit of a backache, which she later realised was the start of labour, and she gave birth 10 hours after finishing class. You might just have to be selective with some of the exercises, and avoid big jumps, back bends and anything that doesn't feel safe. A number of the ladies commented that they had very speedy recoveries from the birth of their children, which they attributed to their fitness from continuing on at ballet. Enjoy your pregnancy, and happy dancing!

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Redbookish

Many congratulations, ViolaDancer! wonderful news and I hope all goes well for you.

 

I know quite a few professional dancers who danced while pregnant. And performed -- it's really interesting seeing the change in balance and centredness. One friend told me she had the best flexibility she'd ever had because of the hormones which relaxed the ligaments. But I gather there are risks from that increased flexibility as well in terms of the ease of overstretching -- so it might be good to find a physiotherapist who knows about dancers and take advice.

 

Caveat: not a medico!

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birchbark

I danced all the way through with my third pregnancy, and it was wonderful. I think I had the easiest time with that birth because I was in shape and active to the very end. As everyone else has said, you do need to be careful not to overdo it, but I never felt particularly constrained. The hardest thing was finding dance clothes that worked. By the end, I was in a completely stretched out, but rather comfortable cami with a strappy tank top over for extra support. I also had a stretchy skirt (a precursor to the Abigail Mentzer-type skirts) that fit nicely under my belly.

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ViolaDancer

My biggest concern is that I'll have summer with little time in ballet and then only a month or so before I'm due when classes start up again. But I'll keep at it as I can.

I just wish I had a room with a good floor and enough space for a barre at home to keep up my practice, but don't we all.

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K123

Hi and congratulations!

I danced through both my pregnancies till about 36 weeks. Toned things down gradually nearer the end as I went along. Gradually reduced any moves lifting the leg behind, jumps became releves, port de bras was more restricted to upper body and you need to be generally careful not to over stretch.I was lucky that I felt well enough, I know, but I think it also contributed to my wellbeing during pregnancy and kept me strong for the births. It is also a kind of special feeling to dance with a little passenger. At one stage my turns were much better - I think the bump corrected my tendency to have my weight back!

If you listen to your body you'll know what feels ok. Listen to it the next day too, because that's often when you feel it.

What I actually found harder was coming back afterwards. It took longer than I thought. I had a couple of false starts after the first baby. I wasn't expecting the extreme new levels of tiredness and how long it takes for your body to feel strong and stable again, especially if you breastfeed. The hormones keep your ligaments lax till about 6 months after you stop, so I didn't feel like my body felt similar to prepregnancy till about 18 months. Even then rebuilding core strength is a longish road. So I would say expect a gradual return afterwards and don't push yourself. But don't worry either - you'll get there. When I was still feeding I started up one class a week again after about 8 months. But now I have 6 and 3 yr old and I manage 5 hrs a week and am feeling strong again.

 

Good luck with it all and enjoy the journey. Dancing when you're pregnant is a wonderful feeling. Plus, with all the hormones, lots of the music will make you well up! It did me anyway. X

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ViolaDancer

I haven't been around because I've been a little busy with my "I'm hoping she follows my steps and dances" daughter.

 

Update: I took class until I was 38 weeks (my career conflicted with meetings and class time for the last couple weeks).

 

My teacher was amazed I was still coming and doing everything. Biggest troubles: any turns (balance was off for some reason...), my arches were in pain (possibly due to swelling - I had to switch from my slippers to my "tstraps"/"teaching sandals"), and my energy level was lower.

 

I was able to continue with petite and grande allegro, however. I loved it and hope to get back soon. My teacher has already asked who gets to teach my daughter her first plie.

 

So I encourage any of you women to continue ballet when you're pregnant and do what you can. It kept my spirits high.

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Redbookish

Congratulations, ViolaDancer. So pleased that all is well with yo, and thanks for coming back to say hello & let us know how it went.

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ViolaDancer

Now that the full season is starting again I am considering pointe work again, but I noticed my shoes are a little more snug. I wonder if my arches have changed since being pregnant. I guess it's time to go pointe shoe shopping again.

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