Forum: Irish / Irish - Adult Dancers

Coming back to dance after a pregnancy-please share your stories!
By Fionna
On Tue Apr 01, 2014 04:41 AM

Hi everyone,

As in the title - could you share your stories, experiences, difficulties etc ? I'm expecting a baby and planning to start dancing again as soon, as I recover after the delivery, so around September/October.
I've been dancing for over ten years, competing too, and ending with intermediate/open level.

Do you have any suggestions what to begin with to avoid/minimize the ( "oh my, I can't do the fast turn/trebles etc") very frustrating part of starting again? ;)

7 Replies to Coming back to dance after a pregnancy-please share your stories!

re: Coming back to dance after a pregnancy-please share your stories!
By JenBlackerbymember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Apr 01, 2014 08:06 AM
I went to a week intensive dance workshop about 2-3 months pregnant. I had to take it easy/sit out some but still enjoyed it.
Competed in novice/prizewinner at 4 months. Had to suck in my belly :D lol. I was really out of breath but actually did really well.
Stopped after that because I got so big so fast.
Came back about 2-3 months after baby (some people can start a lot sooner but I had a lot of stitches :-/ )
I was really weak when i came back, so if you can do something to stay active it will really help. By about 1 yr after was starting to place in prizewinner again. Two years after and my dancing was well beyond what it ever had been!

I have found my body doesn't work the same. Flexibility and abs vanish instantly if I stop working on it, and those were two things that always came easy for me.
re: Coming back to dance after a pregnancy-please share your stories!
By Fionna
On Thu Apr 03, 2014 01:59 PM
Edited by Fionna (125960) on 2014-04-03 14:00:10 spelling
It's nice to hear that after a year you were in form again :)
I danced during St.Patrick's day in a pub (in 6th month!), just made some treble reels with my husband stading nerby ready to call 911 ;) I was so tired after 16 bars... but happy at the same time :)

I think I'll start with swimming and some gym, and step-walking.

Oh, BTW, did you start again with easier steps, or just your old ones?
re: Coming back to dance after a pregnancy-please share your stories!
By JenBlackerbymember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Apr 03, 2014 02:08 PM
You know, I don't even remember. I know I had trouble moving my legs fast enough at first, so I'd recommend starting with easier steps. You'll need to really work on abs. I've found since I lose them so quickly these days its really easy to throw my hips or back out of whack or pull something.
re: Coming back to dance after a pregnancy-please share your stories! (karma: 1)
By Lunamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Apr 03, 2014 03:10 PM
Well first off congratulations! Having a baby is hard work but amazing. Every woman and baby is different so your experience may be different from mine but here is what I went through...

When I was pregnant I only lasted about 3 months and then I got too nauseated and dizzy to continue dancing. I was in the champ class and also couldn't keep up with the rigorous drilling so I decided to stop dancing until my baby came and not risk injuring myself.

While I was pregnant I tried to work out in some way at least 30 minutes a day just to keep my body loose and fit. It really helped me through the 9 months of carrying a baby and kept me from gaining too much weight. I got lazy my last month or so of pregnancy though since I was so uncomfortable and ready to have my baby by then that I gained an extra 20 pounds I really didn't need too. I tried to dance a little at home with easy steps but never pushed myself and soon got to the point that I just couldn't get off the ground.

Well fast forward many many months and now my baby is 4 months old and I only hopped back into dance about a month and a half ago. I'm REALLY out of shape and I wish I had done more stretching while I was preggo since I feel like a hippo who can't leave the ground. Your body completely changes after a baby and now my feet and ankles have to get used to pushing me into the air for leaps with an extra 20 pounds I didn't have before. My flexibility is pretty lame and my stamina is completely gone. It is very frustrating when it's a struggle to do things you used to be able to perform perfectly before. My old foot injury has been acting up so that hasn't been very fun either.

Basically I'm just dancing to dance right now. I would love to go back with the champs but I'm just enjoying slowly getting back to where I was and hopefully competing again in the summer or fall. I'm trying to reteach my body how to do things again but I have been pleasantly surprised that things are starting to come a little easier now. I do a lot of simpler steps and am building up to my old champ steps again.

Sorry this is so long, but here is what I would advise during your preggo time and after:

BEFORE
-Stretch and and exercise everyday. I watched these videos everyday for exercising and they are only 10 min long.
www.youtube.com . . .
- practice steps as long as you are comfortable and don't push yourself.
-continue to strengthen your feet, ankles and dancer muscles if you are physically able (after a few months things do get harder to do!)
- try not to gain more than the necessary 30ish pounds for your baby (or whatever your dr says).

AFTER
- start strengthening your feet and ankles and dancer muscles if you haven't already
- jump rope for stamina or walk/run up and down stairs
- practice simpler steps and drill pieces of steps and eventually move into the harder steps.

For both before and after a pregnancy don't go overboard at first, take your time and listen to what your body tells you. I hope all this stuff helps ;)
re: Coming back to dance after a pregnancy-please share your stories!
By PogMoGilliesmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Apr 06, 2014 06:37 PM
I danced at PW level until I was 7 months pregnant with both kids. I had to wear belly supports with both, but a much stronger one for my second pregnancy, since I got bigger faster.

I'm tall, so neither of my pregnancies ended up with huge baby bumps, which helped with continuing to dance.

I had a C-section with both deliveries, so I was off dance for a full 6 weeks after. When I started back, I found that I got tired fast, and I followed my body's signals- if I was sore, I stopped and rested. My stamina came back pretty quickly, and I was able to compete at 10-12 weeks post baby, though I wasn't at full out dancing yet.

I had some back problems post baby the second time around- I herniated a disc when he was 6 months old. But I recovered from that after 8 weeks, and I never really stopped dancing, except for 2 weeks, when I couldn't lift my heel off the ground.
re: Coming back to dance after a pregnancy-please share your stories!
By Fionna
On Tue Apr 08, 2014 01:47 AM
Thank you, Luna and PogMoGillies for both your stories! It's great you came back to dance so quickly after the delivery. I know I just need to be very patient with that :P

I started walking through my steps, so I won't forget them, and also tried some of the exercises given by Luna. I'm also making small plans for next year's competitions, to have a stronger motivation when I'll start classes again. My husband always wanted to see me during a feis, so I need to make sure he will have this opportunity ;)
re: Coming back to dance after a pregnancy-please share your stories!
By Melie
On Tue Apr 08, 2014 01:03 PM
Hooray for other dancing mamas! Congratulations on your pregnancy!
Coming back to dance after pregnancy is an excellent motivation to get back into shape. The advantage of the first few months after birth is that the baby sleeps so much, even if it's in short doses. I started with long walks, then later jump rope and running to build stamina again, and then was able practice dance every day. Getting ready to compete at the Oireactas at 4 months was exactly the incentive I needed and became something to look forward to even after being up half the night! Every Mom needs some me-time, and for me it has been dance. Mat leave was an amazing time to dance, it was when work started up again that it was more to manage. After my current pregnancy I don't expect to be competition ready as quickly, because it's been more difficult all the way through. But, if dancing is something you love, then go for it and don't be afraid; know it's not only possible to balance dance and motherhood, but it can be an excellent source of sanity:) Good luck!

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