Waist beads  is an accessory originating from West Africa and Egypt worn around the waist, made with glass beads on string or wire. They represent femininity, beauty, sexuality and spirituality. Women from many cultures throughout the African diaspora wear it for different purposes. It is a shared practice for every body to participate in but it is important to educate yourself on their significance first. 
Waist beads strengthen the relationship with the body as it increases body awareness. It helps with self love & building confidence.
Spiritually, waist beads can be used for healing, protection, growth, setting intentions to manifest & other uses depending on personal practices. They can be anointed & prayed upon before being tied. 
If you are interested in gemstones, having them on your waist beads can be beneficial as they stay close to your womb which is a ground for creation. 
For most cultures in West Africa, waist beads are only meant to be shown to the husband as it considered to be like lingerie. 
In cultures of Central Africa, women use waist beads to accentuate their movements when dancing & so they are meant to be shown.
Dancing is powerful for healing, releasing tension or trauma & waist beads create a more intimate connection to the movements.
Waist beads were also used to track growth in children. Some believe that if a girl wears them from a young age she will grow to have a nice shape. 
Adults can also use waist beads to track their weight, the waist beads will fall down when weight is lost & roll up when weight is gained. Same goes for bloating. 
Although never the main reason to wear waist beads, they can be used as a fashion accessory as many people do today. Those with clasp are considered by some to be less traditional.