Belly Dancing As a Form of Pre Or Post Natal Exercise By Nate Maurice
Dance has always been an important part of life, including childbirth. In fact, since ancient times, most rituals in life including birth has dance involved in it in some way. Today, dance is used extensively as a prenatal exercise, in particular belly dance, as it is an excellent form of childbirth preparation.
Research shows that regular exercise will bring a lot of pregnancy benefits. Women who exercise regularly tend to have shorter spans of labor pain and have a lower need of any interventions in their delivery like a cesarean section.
It has also been proven that exercise helps in increasing placental blood flow. And with this, the baby tends to get more oxygen and nutrients delivered to it through its intra uterine lifeline.
Develop strong and flexible muscles
It is important for a woman to have both strong and flexible muscles that both expand and lengthen to move the baby along for an easy birth. To help with this, belly dance, which is an aerobic exercise and isotonic workout, helps in exercising all the muscles that are necessary for giving birth. This includes muscles of the abdomen, torso, the pelvis, pelvic floor and the thigh muscles.
Belly dance comprises of a basic posture of standing with slightly bent knees and the pelvis tucked under to collaborate with the spine. Standing like this for a few minutes is sufficient in strengthening the quadriceps muscles; and this posture is used in all belly dance movements.
This stance strengthens thigh muscles which is important for people who want to deliver in an upright or squatting position although this is uncommon in western society. The muscles of the abdomen and pelvic floor are also exercised with hip, torso and chest movements to improve flexibility of the muscles.
Reduction of labor pains
Moreover, the slow hip movements of belly dance help the baby find the right position for navigating birth through the birth canal. This in turn cuts short the painful and lengthy labors that arise with the mal-position of the baby's head, leading to the woman enjoying a shorter labor, a more satisfying birth experience and a less stressful birth for the baby.
Even the shimmies of belly dance, which are the gentle vibration movements of hip, chest and body, are useful in reducing the pain and tension of labor by dispersing it. This helps the mothers counteract pain while working with her body during the birth.
Improve body awareness
Belly dance also helps improve body awareness in the expecting mother, as does yoga and Tai Chi. Mothers become in tune with her changing body and baby. This benefit of belly dance is most important for women who look for an un-medicated birth experience, without the use of any modern pain management techniques.
Belly dance also leads to a healthy body image for the woman to be proud of. With this improved body image, self esteem and sense of personal power, pregnant women will find it easier to deliver their babies and the world. Besides all these health benefits, belly dance has an additional benefit, that it is fun and makes you feel good while doing it.
A lot of women who take up belly dancing as a form of pre natal exercise continue on in post natal exercise developing their belly dancing technique and skill.
If you are a women, an expecting mother or just someone looking to have fun, participating in belly dance as a form of exercise, either pre or post natal or recreational will add great benefits to your health and life.
Nate Maurice is a well respected fitness trainer & experienced post natal exercise specialist. For more information on his pre or post natal exercise programs please visit Post Natal Exercise Sydney for the best post natal exercise programs and mothers group fitness classes in Sydney
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Hello! My name is Linda. I am a Doula CD(DONA), Hypno-Doula, Childbirth Educator, Midwife Assistant and a Registered Nurse (RN) by profession.