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Belly Dancing: The Dance of Birth Makes a Come Back

By Samantha A. Torrence     Jan 2, 2008 in Health
Belly Dancing has been seen as a sensual dance done by women using circular and hypnotic motions. The Dance of Birth, as it is sometimes called, is being taught to pregnant women to help them through labor.
When one pictures a belly dancer the image of a sultry and seductive women, veiled to her eyes yet wearing flowing and teasingly revealing clothing come to mind, not that of a woman drenched in sweat and laboring to bring forth life. Yet Belly Dancing is just that, a dance meant to imitate labor and to accentuate all that is woman, the power of creation.
The Daily Herald reports:
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.
Women who are pregnant and have permission from their doctors are encouraged to take classes for a low impact high aerobic exercise that can teach valuable moves to help along labor. A hormone called relaxin is released during pregnancy that makes a woman's ligaments more malleable allowing her hips to stretch. This is not limited to the hip area so it is wise not to over stretch. However the movements of Belly Dancing can help shape the hips and birth canal for a more efficient birthing process. Hip Rocks help to place the baby in the proper position in the birth canal for easier labor. A move which places a woman on her knees in a back bend and moving her belly like a serpent was created specifically to show the process of labor.
"The movements that women make when they're belly dancing are the same movements that I am trying to get them to make to bring the baby down," says DR. Elizabeth Allemann.
The Goddess Dancing is a foundation which promotes belly dancing to help with the birthing process. On their webpage they also advertise classes as well as provide information and links to other website about using belly dancing for labor.
Expectant moms should always obtain permission from their doctor before performing any exercise routine. Some moves like hip pops, drops and anything on the toes should be avoided.
More about Belly, Dance, Birth