Courtesy of Mishal Ali Zafar

Does Dancing While Pregnant Hurt The Baby? Here's What The Experts Say

The list of things you have to give up during pregnancy is pretty long. You are asked to avoid soft cheeses, smoking, roller coasters, and of course, alcohol. But when you’re out with your friends and you hear your favorite jam, you might wonder if it’s safe for you to get your groove on and dance. Tearing up the dance floor is seemingly harmless, but does dancing while pregnant hurt the baby?

In an interview with Romper, Dr. Mary O’Toole, an OB-GYN with MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California says that dancing during pregnancy is fine, and should not hurt the baby. She says, however, that as the pregnancy progresses, your center of balance is not the same, so you should definitely avoid any maneuvers that could cause you to fall, especially onto your abdomen. You should probably skip the pole dancing, suggests O’Toole, but if you are dancing with a partner or alone, it’s fine.

The key with activities during pregnancy, including dancing, is making sure you feel good and that it’s safe for you and the baby. According to G. Thomas Ruiz, M.D., OB-GYN, of Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, dancing does not hurt the baby, but he suggests that you keep your heart rate at 120 or less with any activity. “Obviously we would not encourage any dance moves where the pregnant abdomen is slammed into another person," adds Ruiz.

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Dr. Yen H. Tran, DO, OB-GYN, from Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California tells Romper that she actually danced during her pregnancy. “After taking a long bath with relaxing music in the background,” says Tran, “I would dance to slow music as a form of exercise to allow blood to circulate well within my body.” She explains that slow dance movements, especially to classical music like Mozart, allow for better brain development and easier blood flow to the baby. Tran says that pregnant moms can use dancing as a form of exercise, which could allow them to regulate their weight, help with stiff joints, and calm their nerves to cope with other unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy, all while allowing a better blood flow to their babies.

Don't feel like doing boring cardio during pregnancy? According to Baby Center, dancing during pregnancy can be a great way to get in some exercise. The article noted that if you are able to handle strenuous dance classes like Zumba, you can go ahead, as long as you have the green light from your doctor. As your pregnancy progresses and your belly grows bigger, however, intense movements may just get harder to perform. Towards the end of your pregnancy, when your center of gravity has shifted and your feet are swelling, you may not be able to pull off some of the more strenuous movements.

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If you are cutting a rug, make sure to be attentive to your body and how you are feeling. You don’t want to dance to the point where you stress your body out too much, or exacerbate any present conditions. Parents suggested listening to your body for cues while dancing, like dizziness, shortness of breath, vaginal bleeding, or pain, which may be signs that you need to stop and notify your doctor.

As with any activity during pregnancy, make sure to ask your doctor about what is appropriate for your specific condition. Some pregnant moms are asked to move around more or less, depending on certain pregnancy complications or issues, so it’s really important to get an OK from your physician. Once you know that it’s safe to dance, then you can dance if you want to and leave your pregnant worries behind.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.