Have you heard of “Birth dance”? do you think it’s an empowering image for pregnant women?

Question by Ember Halo: Have you heard of “Birth dance”? do you think it’s an empowering image for pregnant women?
“Belly Dancing as Birth dance:
A Labor of Love by Delilah
The movements of bellydance can aid throughout a womens’ pregnancy and in the actual birthing process. The movements used were basic and carefully initiated, combining relaxation and breathing techniques, yoga, meditation and the basic hip circle, figure eight, camel walk, bellyroll, and diaphragm flutter.
What I feel I could add to the unfolding picture of this subject is in the realm of the psychological benefits that I discovered during the Dance to the Great Mother Project. Professionally performing while pregnant was the most transforming experience of my life. It opened me to realizing the range of hurtful and unfair psychological conditioning we women undergo.
I performed Dance to the Great Mother during my second pregnancy. During my first I danced in clubs until 3 months, retired for a while, taught a little and basically hid out and waited. I returned to dancing 6 months after Laura Rose was born. I put dancing on hold psychologically during that time.
One day during the 4th month of my second pregnancy I got a phone call to do a private party for an organization. Before hearing very much more I told the women I was on sabbatical due to my pregnancy; she got very excited and requested that I hear her out. I did, and in January 1980 I was commissioned by her regional group of family planners to perform a Birthdance. I went on to perform the dance work at various workshops across the states, and then as part of a larger concert piece called “Phases of the Moon, Faces of the Mother” with Laurel Gray, Kathy Balducci and Tahia Alibec.
The experience was profound for me and for many women in the audience. After the performances they would seek me out with tears in their eyes and comments such as, “If I had only seen this dance before or during my pregnancy I would have enjoyed being pregnant instead I felt fat, ugly, I wanted to lock myself away in a closet I want my daughters to see something like this so that they will enjoy that special time in a womens’ life…”
I knew what they meant. I myself had hid a way to a certain extent during my first pregnancy. This marked contrast in my activities taught me something important. I was a darn good dancer, expectant or not why should I stop if there wasn’t a health hazard? Both my pregnancies were wonderful, but there was a psychological advantage with the second one. My entire pregnancy with my second daughter Victoria, was spent masquerading around the country as Isis the Great Mother, doing what I was meant to do my entire life, celebrate life and dance! I felt fantastic! I felt like a Goddess!
The deep question that arose for me was why had I not felt free to dance in a professional capacity during my first pregnancy? Not that I wanted to be in a night club while I was pregnant, but there are other venues. What was this invisible social pressure upon us as women to hide away during the most creative and glorious position of our lives? What damage is being done to a society which hasn’t any images of pregnant women doing anything powerful, creative, or physical? Couldn’t our world benefit from such healthy images of beauty and strength of Motherhood?
10 research discoveries according to Suzanne McNeil:
1.It’s easier for women to learn bellyroll movements when they are pregnant. This was amazing!
2.The undulation or camel walk felt uncomfortable during labor for all the subjects. The motion made it feel like there was pressure downward on the cervix. After discovering this we did not use it during labor. It did not effect anyone in class except occasionally someone in their 8th or 9th month.
3.The movements most useful during labour were in relation to the hips and lower back, i.e., the figure 8, the hip circle and the pelvic thrust (not from bellydance)
4.All the students wanted to learn these movements in their dance form because it’s more fun. A teacher could teach them separately as a technique without the bellydance name attached to it if she was hampered by a conservative community.
5.The circular movements of the pelvis could be done during labor standing, leaning on a bed or table an on hands and knees.
6.Pregnant women learned better when I placed my hand on the area of the body where the movement needed to be corrected. I would stand next to them- touching- to have them mimic the undulation. This seemed to accelerate learning.
7.Physical balance and energy increased.
8.Attitude about their body improved.
9.Indigestion during pregnancy (a common occurrence) was almost always eliminated.
10.One woman reported that her baby would kick a lot when she lay down to go to sleep. She tried using bellyrolls during the night and it did quiet the kicking.”
(the main body is an excerpt, btw. sorry it’s so long, i shortened it quite a bit, but …)

Best answer:

Answer by gracie
I’ve never heard of it (before now)… I think it’s very cool though! I would love to do something like this!
Very best wishes!

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One Response to “Have you heard of “Birth dance”? do you think it’s an empowering image for pregnant women?”

  1. Eve says:

    I’ve never heard it called that, but this might give a little more background…

    I’ve belly danced since I was four (family thing!) and I remember reading at some point that traditionally belly dancing is done only in the presence of other women (although men dance too; not sure where), until the wedding. Then dancers are often employed at the celebration to get the couple in the mood, and the bride’s training for doing it herself not only serves to arouse her husband but also helps her with pregnancy and childbirth later on. In any case, it’s definitely empowering!

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