Belly Dance is a Great Tool for Pregnancy and Labor - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 09-15-2011, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Moms,  


Below is a message from one of our small business sponsors, Emily.  She shares her story of how an article in Mothering Magazine lead to a solution for her extreme back pain during pregnancy, and how she is now sharing the method with moms everywhere.


Thanks for this piece, Emily!

Belly dance is a great tool for pregnancy and labor.


I don’t remember where I heard this or when, but halfway through my pregnancy I was experiencing the worst back pain I’d ever had, and this idea surfaced in my mind like a fish nibbling at the surface of a stream.  I am not a dancer.  I dance only in the privacy of my home when no one else is looking.  If it worked, though, I would try it.  After purchasing a couple prenatal belly dance DVDs on Amazon and being disappointed in both the instruction and the lack of solid information and tools for labor, I came across a review of Maha al Musa’s Dance of the Womb: A Gentle Guide for Pregnancy & Birth” in Mothering magazine (“Cool Stuff,” July-August 2010).  If Mothering liked it, I figured, it’s got to be better than what I’d seen so far!  I went to Maha’s website and found a YouTube video trailer and instructional clip.  I found more inspiration in those few minutes of instruction than I had in the complete workouts I had purchased.  I ordered Maha's DVD direct from her in Australia and within days of its arrival, my back was pain-free and I was enjoying the fluidity of movement that I was looking for – even with a burgeoning 8-month pregnant belly!  What I learned from “Dance of the Womb” got me through a much more challenging birth than I was anticipating.  Thirty-six hours of back labor passed astonishingly fast as I swayed and rotated my hips.  The movements soothed and freed me.  They allowed me to move fluidly through the pain without medication and deliver my little girl naturally.  I was anxious to share Maha's program with others before this experience, but afterward it was an absolute must.  


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Dance of the Womb” was filmed when Maha was 46 years old and pregnant with her third child.  Watching her dance is encouragement in itself.  Her body is fluid, strong, and graceful, even while being 32 weeks pregnant.  Her voice is gentle, strong, and soothing and she presents each piece of instruction clearly and thoroughly.  This 2-disc set (164 minute run-time)  includes an extensive warm-up that not only prepares muscles and ligaments but breath, spirit, and awareness.  Following the warm-up is a series of six dance technique chapters that can be followed in series or selected individually.  Each chapter guides the dancer through a technique and its uses during pregnancy and birth while offering reminders of the connection between mother and baby, between the mother and her own body, and of the body’s natural and powerful ability to give birth.  The second disc includes a remarkable and beautifully filmed 50-minute documentary of Maha’s own homebirth, in which we get to see belly dance in practice.  Interviews with two midwives help explain why the moves are both physiologically and psychologically beneficial for the birthing mother.  This documentary is a powerful tool in itself, and gave me great confidence at the end of my pregnancy that my body was, indeed, capable of giving birth naturally and with power, grace and ease.  


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Maha is a doula, the founder of Bellydancebirth® and author of the book Dance of the Womb: The Essential Guide to Belly Dance for Pregnancy and Birth.  She describes how belly dance was in its origins a woman’s dance, passed from mother to daughter to preserve its sacredness and honor its connections to birth and fertility.  She says, “The smooth undulating movements of Bellydancebirth®  aid a woman's ability to deal with her labor 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 laboring 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 center resides within the pelvis and hip area….  Many women find that they are very tight and rigid here and…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.”

This program is a true gift to birthing mothers of any background preparing for any type of birth, whether home or hospital.  It is also a welcome tool for birth professionals, offering not only techniques to ease labor, but also a unique homebirth film to share with their expectant mothers.  Maha’s program has been endorsed by the Australian National Association of Childbirth Educators as well as the Australian Doula College.  I am thrilled and honored to be the first US distributor for this remarkable 2-disc DVD set and to help make Bellydancebirth® more accessible to women in North America.  Wishing you all joy, peace, and empowerment in your birthing experience and beyond!  

Emily at
“Enjoy your journey.”


"The gentle rhythmical movements shown by Maha can enhance muscle strength and flexibility, helping a woman to align her baby in her pelvis and encouraging pelvic muscle relaxation and blood flow. The active and passive components of the gentle dances help pelvic floor toning, which assists in the birthing process and reduces injury. As well, the confidence gained using these natural calming movements enhances self esteem and respect and love of our bodies as well as increased joy in birthing, our babies, and our femininity.   --Dr Debbie Mortimer, Medical Practitioner, Mullumbimby NSW.

Dance of the Womb’ relaxes your mind. A relaxed mind can embrace change, deal with pain, open to new states and mostly surrender. Pregnancy, birth and motherhood are all about surrender. When we surrender we open a space for something new to happen. When you let go of stress there is a space for something to flow in......peace."   Angela Fitzgerald, Mother and Doula

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