Zumba: Can I continue my classes when pregnant?

Dr Joanna Helcké, author of The Little Book Of Making Your Exercise Safe For Pregnancy, says that Zumba and dance classes can be adapted to suit pregnancy. Remember to say it to your instructor so s/he can advise you further.

“There is no doubt that Zumba and dancing in general have the feel-good factor about them. I always say to people that dancing is good for the soul. I am a great believer in exercising for emotional wellbeing and if you enjoy dancing then it will definitely make you happy. So from this perspective, dance is a great way of keeping fit, including in pregnancy, but there are definitely certain considerations to be taken into account when you are expecting.”

Dr Helcké outlines a few pointers for pregnant dance fans:

  • Latin-type dance includes a good deal of twisting of the pelvic area and with the load of pregnancy being carried by the pelvis, this is a vulnerable area prone to complications such as pelvic girdle pain and lower backache. Given this, I would recommend that if you do decide to arry on with Zumba in pregnancy that you adapt the class by missing out the twisting rotational movements of the pelvis.
  • Ideally it would be best to attend a Zumba class that is led by an instructor who has a qualification in ante- and postnatal exercise as s/he will know exactly how to adapt things for your safety.
  • When you are having fun it is easy to become a little careless with your movements and to even overdo things. In pregnancy it is important to exercise with excellent form and also not to get too hot, so if you decide to carry on dancing in pregnancy, be sure not to work at too intense a level.
  • Certain dance forms are very focused on taking your limbs beyond their normal range of movement, ballet being a case in point. In pregnancy this should be avoided so as not to overstretch or strain the ligaments, a possibility due to the high relaxin levels in the body. So keep dance moves smaller and more restrained in pregnancy.
  • If you really love dancing but find it hard to do so within the constraints mentioned above, you might find it better to opt for a more standard exercise to music class. This will give you the music side of things without the twisting, turning and pelvic movements associated with dance.
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Dr Joanna Helcké is mum to three boys and a leading expert in pregnancy and postnatal fitness. Her latest booklet, The Little Book Of Making Your Exercise Safe For Pregnancy, costs £7 and is available from www.fitbumpbox.com

maternity & infant