When my husband and I found out we were pregnant in October of 2018, we were over the moon excited. But that left me with the question of “can I still dance?” After discussing with my doctor, she actually recommended that I continue dancing throughout my pregnancy such as long as it does not cause any pain or discomfort. I had read online once about women who are weight lifters that continue lifting through their pregnancies. As long as it is okayed by their Doctor, it is suggested to continue their exercise of choice as their body is already used to the movement. Who knew I was going to be one of those “cool” pregnant people that got to keep doing what I loved?
As an overachiever in all aspects of my life, early pregnancy gave me the chance to learn how to slow down for my own benefit. My first trimester was not nearly as bad as it could have been (tired, nauseous and lived on vegetables, bread and water, but I otherwise was able to function). Fatigue definitely played a role in how little I wanted to exercise. What is great about highland dancing is that I was able to tone down the level I was dancing without stopping completely. I stopped competing, and switched from 2 classes a week to one with 1-2 of my own practices. I also switched my focus during practising from cross training for strength and stamina, to more technique heavy focus (for example, holding positions to perfect body positions, feet strengthening exercises etc.). I also tried some prenatal yoga.
Once I hit my second and third trimester my energy came back, although I kept the same level of practise as to not over work my already hard at work body. I was so thankful to be able to keep dancing as it kept my body moving and it made me feel great! I danced until I was about 8 months pregnant and finally stopped because my feet were too swollen for my sneakers.
We welcomed our baby girl, Amelia via cesarean section on July 13th 2019. Healing and recovering from abdominal surgery was definitely new for me, since I had never even been in the hospital prior to giving birth. By the time my doctor gave me the go ahead to exercise again it was time for the fall dance term! Perfect timing to get back into it. When you look at the amount of time I took “off” from dancing it was roughly 3 months. I am so thankful I was able to continue through at the capacity I could while pregnant, and that I have postpartum fitness goals through highland dance. It has definitely been a learning curve to dance with my postpartum body, but I am so thankful that I can ease back into everything while also pushing myself and finally feeling myself again.
**Disclaimer- Consult your doctor if you are pregnant and wish to continue any type of physical activity.