Birth Dancing – gentle movements from ancient wisdom for pregnancy, birth and beyond

Dance with your baby

Birth is a dance…

Belly dance is not a term I particularly favour for the common misconception and image it conjures up to many people in the West. However, for all intents and purposes, I feel that ‘belly dance’ is apt in its description for this form of birth dancing. In essence, it is a dance centred in the belly, the source of human life. Movement and energy radiates from the belly, the blossoming sanctuary in which your baby will enjoy floating in his own little ocean until the day you first gaze into each other’s eyes.

To cut a very long story short, raqs orientale (oriental dance) and all its variations and forms across the Near and Middle East is a dance primarily and historically shared by women; to celebrate, to communicate, to enjoy and to mark important rites of passage. It represents community, solidarity, femininity and self-expression. Wisdom and tradition seeps liberally through generations, becoming an integral part of women’s lives and wellbeing. Childbirth is viewed as a normal life event and from childhood girls learn how to use the muscles in their hips, abdomen and pelvis; they are loose and flexible.

In comparison Western women rarely use all the muscles required during birth and with our ever increasing sedentary lifestyle, we replace this body confidence and flexibility in the pelvis with technology and fear, hence our intervention-biased birth culture.

 

Earth MamaBy learning to embrace and appreciate a growing belly, strengthen the core muscles and move instinctively to the rhythm of birth, we are reclaiming our ability to birth our babies as nature intended. Pregnancy is a joyous occasion and should be celebrated. It is absolutely the perfect time to dance and even more so, to dance with your baby. Your journey together needs happy memories and time away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and preoccupations.

These ancient moves and gentle motions serve to tone the body, strengthen and engage the muscles used during birth, relax the mind and enliven the soul. Movements that form the essence of oriental dancing can bring an array of benefits for women pre-conception, during pregnancy, labour, in the post-natal period and beyond.

As a birth doula I have cherished observing how belly dance has empowered the women I work with. My relentless study in this area has been substantiated by the positive outcomes I witness first-hand, particularly during childbirth. I can attest to the power of these fluid movements in terms of pain relief above all, mobility, flexibility and self-confidence. In addition, common pregnancy complaints such as lower-back pain, sciatica, heartburn, tiredness and swelling of joints can be gently eased.

VBAC Story # 1

M gave birth in a private hospital with one of the highest c-section rates in Perth.L

She astounded her midwives and obstetrician with her strength and determination and I am so very proud of her.

“My first birth I had a caesarean section which was traumatic both mentally and physically. So for my second one, I wanted to try for a natural birth. Rachel was a godsend; she helped me to heal first, then provided me with the knowledge, strength and support to achieve my goal and to trust in my body…I found the birth movements very relaxing and soothing. Through Rachel, I found my courage and strength and am pleased to say our daughter L was born naturally…thank you Rachel.” M

 

MBDCVBAC Story # 2

M and I both have the same dance teacher and dance together on a regular basis. She had been taking belly dance lessons for a few years prior to her second pregnancy and I have had the honour of working with her gorgeous family throughout her entire pregnancy as her birth doula. Here is a link to M’s incredible and inspiring natural birth and belly dance story (she actually gave birth in my car!).

M’s Story

Photo – M in the dance studio (35 weeks)

 

Services

Classes are held either in your home or mine, depending on where you feel most comfortable and can relax.

I offer personal sessions tailored to your specific needs whether that be combined with antenatal education, specifically for birth preparation and relaxation or post-natal strengthening and rejuvenation. My aim is to leave you feeling more confident about your body, your birth and your ability to nurture your baby in the way you see fit.

If you wish to dance with a friend or have a small group, I am more than happy for you to contact me with your requests: rachelthebirthlady [at] gmail [dot] com

L Pic BD

There are no pre-requisites; you don’t have to have any dance experience, everything I will show you is gentle and low-impact. It doesn’t matter whether you have never danced in your life or don’t take frequent exercise (in fact, you will be inspired by the difference), what shape or size you are and at what point in your pregnancy you are. I will talk to you about any medical complications and relevant information concerning safe exercise during pregnancy before we start.

To say I have a passion for oriental dance is an understatement, as many who know me would confirm! It has become a part of who I am and continues to open my mind, heart and spirit on a daily basis. I am extremely lucky to learn from inspirational teachers who have a wealth of experience from across the globe. I treasure being able to combine this dedication with my work supporting women and I will bring with me my contagious enthusiasm and genuine love for all I teach.

 

WAMED 2014

 

 

 

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