I heard of ladies in pregnancy practising belly dance to prepare them for the childbearing and post natal healing process. In a Shine 2008-Alternative health and beauty exposition,here in Taranaki, Oakura, I briefly chat with Stephanie Hopkins, who distributes a line of botanical perfumes and organic skincare products for babies. She said that she bellydanced after she had her child and found it helped her with her healing process. Tightening her pelvic muscles with hip circles and undulations.

I chanced upon this article and a testimonial. Thought it will be great to share it with you all!

Source: Bellydance for Birth-An excerpt from “Dance of the Womb” By Maha Al Musa

Bellydance for pregnancyMegan; 37 years old, on birthing her second baby
“Maha is a dear friend of mine and I feel blessed she was my doula at the home-birth of my 7-month-old daughter Melody in January this year. I had attended several workshops with Maha during my pregnancy and found the movements to be highly relaxing and I felt they also helped me to “tune in” to my baby. They seemed such natural movements to make while pregnant – very different from some of the unnatural yoga poses I had been taught!

When it came to the birth I was lucky enough to have Maha with me during both pre-labour and active labour and she guided me through many of the movements during this time. I found when I was in labour the movements gave me a focus and helped me to have a sense of opening up. In the early stages of labour using Maha’s guide of spiralling my hips rhythmically in a figure-eight style really helped ease the tension building in my lower back. We danced our way through the birth! I just had to keep moving – whenever I stopped the pain would be unbearable.

I am a strong believer in active birth – and the bellydance fitted in perfectly with that.

Source: Wall Street Journal.

dance baby“I danced my way through labour”

Helping Jennifer Wright through labor in the delivery room of a Columbia, Missour (USA), birthing center in February were her doctor, her husband — and her belly-dance instructor.

With the teacher, DeeDee Farris-Folkerts, by her side reminding her of the moves, Ms. Wright stood holding her husband while doing the hip circles and pelvic rotations characteristic of the ancient Arabian dance. She had readied a compact disc with classic Egyptian music, but didn’t have a chance to play it before her daughter, Aubrey, emerged.

“I danced my way through labor,” says the mother of three, who had been given painkillers and labor-inducing medication during her oldest child’s birth and wanted a natural alternative. Her husband, Joe Walls, says he learned that belly dancing ‘is more than just entertainment. It has a much higher purpose.’

These days, alternative techniques to ease labor run the gamut from hypnotherapy to “water births” in a large bathtub. But some women disillusioned with routine use of drugs and medical interventions during labor are turning to an unusual solution — belly dancing. They’re restoring the titillating dance of seduction — frequent entertainment fare in night clubs and Middle Eastern restaurants — to what they say were its origins in childbirth, while enhancing maternity wards with swirling motions and mesmerising music.

Expectant mothers can choose from an increasing array of prenatal belly-dancing classes and educational materials. The first instructional prenatal belly dance DVD in the U.S. was released 16 months ago, with a pregnant dancer named Naia leading the class.

“Most of the women who come to me have given birth before and they want something different,” says Ms. Farris-Folkerts, who typically has three to eight pregnant students in her belly-dance courses.

The belly dance arrived in the U.S. in the 1890s, according to bellydance lore, when impresario Sol Bloom brought an “Algerian” village to the Chicago World’s fair and introduced the dancer Little Egypt, who cavorted to improvised snake-charmer music. Incorporating elements of striptease and so-called “hootchie-cootchie” dancing, the belly dance gained its come-hither reputation.

British anthropologist Sheila Kitzinger, author of numerous books on pregnancy, says belly dancing originated as a ritual of childbirth as well as seduction. Among Bedouin Arabs, she says, girls are taught a pelvic dance during puberty to celebrate their budding sexuality and prepare for the physical marathon of childbirth.

Some belly dance moves mirror those of labor. The idea is that the pelvic gyrations help disperse the pain of contractions, orient the fetus and propel the baby into the world. In early labor, when contractions are relatively mild, the expectant mother may find comfort in dancing slowly and hypnotically, using hip circles, crescents and figure eights. As labor gets more intense, the movements may progress to a rapid rocking of the pelvis from side to side – a technique known a the shimmy – to help position the baby correctly and relax the pelvic floor. In the final phase of pushing, a full body undulation known as the camel roll can help the baby move into the birth canal.”

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