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Belly dance your way to a better birth

Belly Dancing

'Belly dance for birth' describes the movements of the bellydance in its role as a birthing dance. It is a safe and effective dance expression that supports women throughout pregnancy and labour providing a natural birthing technique that encourages active birth.
   
Middle Eastern Dance has evolved over time, traversed many lands and has been labelled, restructured, extended, and fused with other dance styles. A predominantly woman's dance it would have been passed from mothers to daughters to preserve its sacredness and honour its connections to birth and fertility.
 
'A Bedouin Arab girl learns a pelvic dance during the puberty... and will belly dance, when she is in labour. The belly dance represents the power of women to produce life.' - Sheila Kitzinger [1]

The smooth undulating movements of 'Belly dance for birth' aid a woman's ability to deal with her labour in an opening rather than restrictive fashion. The soothing rocking motions of the circular and figure eight movements set the scene for a birthing woman to flow with the natural rhythms of her labouring body and become connected to Nature and the Universe.

Emotionally the birth dance opens up a well of feelings that cannot be easily locked away in pregnancy. A woman's birthing heart centre resides within the pelvis and hip area. This region is often fraught with locked up painful, sexual memory. Many women find that they are very tight and rigid here and when they begin to bellydance they may find it difficult to loosen up the area or even to make connection with this part of their body. It is as though the dance beckons a woman to stand in the light of her truth and feel her conscious presence within her birthing body. It is a wonderfully relevant birth preparation because of this dual acceptance of emotion and physicality.

'Arab women, Tahitians and Maoris knew instinctively that they would help themselves if they kept moving through childbirth... they swayed their bodies and swung their hips and pelvis in large circular rotations' - Wendy Buonaventura [2]

Bellying dancing in pregnancy

In our twenty- first century world, many women have become estranged from their primal birthing brain and the knowledge that lies within it. An empowered birthing journey asks us as women to get back to a sense of life basics where intuition and instinct are normal. Women too often hand their power over to the medical world long before they enter labour and have the idea that someone else will do it for them. I strongly encourage women to take birth into their own hands by becoming informed of their choices and by finding out as much as they can about what will be happening to their body and mind during the pregnancy and childbirth journey.

Bellydanceforbirth' can act as purposeful tool to help a woman before she steps into the gateway of birth. It can help bridge the gap between the primal brain (which knows how to give birth) and the modern woman (who may need to be reminded of her instinctual capacity) assisting her to claim back her most basic and inherent right as the Deliverer of Life.

It is not too late for any woman to take up 'belly dance for birth', if only for a few months at the end of her pregnancy. Any understanding and experience of the dance is advantageous. I have facilitated classes where women have only come at the latter stages of their pregnancy. They have recounted, after their birth experience, how pleased and grateful they were to have had the opportunity to practise the belly dance movements in a pre-natal setting. Being aware of the moves enabled them to effectively flow into the sensations and thus rhythm of labour with a strong sense of purpose rather than fear.

Belly dance for birth

You can help yourself towards a wonderful birth experience by learning the movements of 'belly dance for birth', described in the first time the book and DVD 'Dance of the Womb'

References

[1] Sheila Kitzinger, Rediscovering Birth, Little, Brown and Company (UK) 2000
[2} Bellydancing - The Serpent and The Sphinx- Wendy Buonaventura 1983

Maha Al Musa is a mother of three gorgeous children - two sons and a daughter, writer, human rights activist, dancer, doula and lover of all things connected to the divine 'feminine'. She is of Palestinian / Moslem and Lebanese / Christian background and was born in Kuwait and migrated to Australia in the early 60's. Belly Dance for Birth Website.

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