Belly Dance for Pregnancy
Belly dance may seem like the perfect prenatal exercise, and is traditionally used in the Middle East. However, it's important to know that belly dance is used mainly in the later stages to get contractions going and ease labour, so you need to be very careful in your first trimester, and understand what you can and can't do for the rest of the pregnancy.
The following DVD's are designed specifically for expectant mothers.
Prenatal Bellydance, with Naia
Traditional Belly Dance in preparation for childbirth
I confess, this DVD got me offside right away with its blurb about belly dance and its origins in birthing rituals. It's true bellydance has been used in Middle Eastern births for at least a hundred years - but belly dancing existed long before that, and all earlier records refer to it as an art form or entertainment. However, I had to remind myself that isn't relevant to whether the DVD is any good!
And it is good - gentle, effective belly dance exercises suitable for pregnancy. It's perhaps not for the absolute beginner, but then not many people would be starting belly dance completely from scratch, unsupervised, when pregnant.
This DVD is more about yoga and stretching than belly dancing. It uses only a few basic belly dance moves. However, it's gentle and safe to use during pregnancy and ideal for expectant moms who've never exercised before.
If you're a belly dancer keen to continue practice during pregnancy, then you'd be better off with Naia's DVD. I know experienced belly dancers may feel it's too easy - but remember, some belly dance moves can trigger labor, so you do have to be careful in your practice and Naia gives a good overview of what's allowed.
Maha el Musa's Dance of the Womb
This DVD is unlike any of the other prenatal belly dance DVD's I've reviewed so far. Like the others, Maha's DVD offers a belly dance exercise program that's safe for pregnant women. However, the emphasis is different.
If you're a belly dancer and you're just looking for advice on what moves you can and can't do in class, then Naia's DVD will fit the bill. If, however, you're looking for a DVD (and book) that will show you how to enrich your experience of childbirth through belly dance, you need Maha's DVD! It addresses the spiritual and emotional as well as the physical aspects of preparing for childbirth.
It's not cheap - but then, having a baby is possibly the most momentous event you'll ever have in your whole life, so in my book, it's worth the investment.
Endorsed by the Australian Doula College.
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