At nine months pregnant, Mary Helen Bowers is dancing a lovely pas de deux with her unborn baby.
The former ballerina glows in photos and videos showing her twirling, stretching and moving to the music, her baby bump along for the ride. She has chronicled her growing body on her Instagram account, balletbeautiful.
“I just love knowing that when I’m dancing, the baby is dancing,” Bowers, 33, told TODAY Moms. “It’s just been awesome to know there’s this little life that’s sharing in everything you do every day.”
With her doctor’s approval, Bowers has been dancing and working out right until the last days of her pregnancy. She’s due to give birth next week.
Noting she’s been lucky to have a very healthy and comfortable pregnancy, Bowers said the most important thing she has done is listen to her body throughout the process. During her first trimester, she still felt like she could do almost everything, but she soon started to modify her dancing to accommodate her growing belly.
How does she balance with all that extra weight in the front?
“It’s not everything that it was,” Bowers admitted with a laugh. But she said she’s always paid great attention to having a good posture and focusing on her core, which has allowed her to maintain lots of control over her body.
“I feel like that’s really helped me with my balance and helped prevent back pain and a lot of other aches and pains that are really common with pregnancy.”
The dancer has also embraced watching her body change, noting she spends most of her days in a leotard and tights so there’s really no hiding a bump.
Bowers, who danced with the New York City Ballet for 10 years and helped train Natalie Portman for her role in “Black Swan,” now owns Ballet Beautiful, a New York fitness company designed to help regular women get a dancer’s lean and toned physique.
She’s also developed a prenatal workout, which she hopes will help women in the same way her dancing routine has helped her.
“I’ve really been amazed by how active I’ve been able to be and how much my body has been able to do,” Bowers said.
“It’s a beautiful time. You feel connected to your body on a level like never before.”