Beady I Bead: What are waist beads 

Beads are more than just for a pretty bracelet or necklace that you wear occasionally. Whether it’s for aesthetic or you receive it from someone special, you can’t deny the fact that it looks good to anyone who wears it. 

Aside from making these typical accessories, another thing you should know about beads is that you can use them to make waist beads! 

Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, Beady I Bead is here to help you introduce yourself to a brief origin of waist beads and what they are used for. Keep on reading to learn more about this interesting type of accessory. 

What are waist beads?

In West African countries like Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria, this traditional accessory for women has been dominant in the past years. Waist beads are known in different regions as belly beads, beaded-west chains, and waistline beads. 

From the name itself, this accessory is worn around your waist. West African women personalize it starting from the string, designs and beads that they’re going to use. They check your waist measurement first before they proceed in customizing your waist beads. 

This trend has been adapted in modern times and usually, they are seen for aesthetic purposes only. But what you don’t know about waist beads is that women in African cultures started wearing them as a symbol of fertility, spiritual well-being, femininity, and sensuality. 

Why do women wear them?

Aside from its ability to highlight your waist feature and add more charm to your body, there’s a deeper meaning behind the purpose of why African women wear them. 

Sign of maturity

Waist beads are worn by women starting from the day they were born as part of their traditional culture. They honour waist beads to every girl to mark their stages of entering womanhood such as getting their first period and giving birth to a child. 

Weight measurement

Instead of using a weighing scale, they use waist beads to determine if you gained or lost weight. Since the most common strings used for making it isn’t stretchable, they can easily see the changes in your body. 

Once the waist beads got loose it’s an indication that you’ve lost some weight while on the other hand, if you feel like it’s getting tighter around your waist it means you’ve gained some. 

Proper posture

Waist beads are made to fit your body proportions. So every time you move, you’ll feel its presence in your waist even more especially when sitting down. The way you sit and move affect how they feel around which makes you conscious of your posture. 

To prevent it from breaking into pieces or piercing through your skin, sitting down properly is the best thing to do which leads to you fixing your body posture as well. 


In Ghana, women wear larger beads to attract possible suitors for single women. The more they walk, the louder the noise it will make to gain attention. While in other African cultures, they wear waist beads during sex to increase their chances of getting pregnant. Once they do, they have another separate collection to protect themselves and the baby from any harm. 

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