Classes

The next course dates are: Friday 20th Sept - 18th Oct 2019

(the cost of this 5 week course is £40)

Classes are Friday 13:30-14:30 in Lancaster

please remember to bring a bottle of water

To register your interest or for more information please contact me through the below form, email: hypnobirthinghaven@outlook.com or call me on: 07738218659

 
Who is it For?

Pregnancy and Post-Natal Belly Dance is suitable to start at any point in pregnancy though please do check with your healthcare provider if you are unsure.

 

About 6 weeks after your baby has arrived, you can recommence belly dancing (It’s a great hip and waist-trimmer and nice to do something where the focus is on you ;) I am very happy for non mobile and mobile babies to come along too should you wish. They can be worn in a sling, stay in the pram or on a playmat/blanket.

 
 
What You Need

1.    Jersey leggings or exercise clothing which is cool and stretchy. Natural fabrics are more breathable.
2.    Top: whatever is comfortable, any length sleeves. You don’t need to have a bare belly unless you want to.
3.    Footwear: bare feet is best and is the traditional footwear option.
4.    A bottle of water

 
 
The History of Belly Dance for Pregnancy, Labour and Birth!

 

Did you know that Belly Dance in pregnancy was actually started for women in pregnancy and labour Centuries ago? Belly dance, or forms of dance that employed the same movements as modern belly dance, existed as dances of fertility since the dawn of human civilisation. There are several different types of belly dance but most of them involve doing slow, undulating and rolling motions, such as hip circles and figure-of-eight movements.

Experts consider hip rolls and circles to be good for strengthening the pelvic and abdominal muscles, which are involved in childbirth, while relaxing them at the same time and your baby will love it!

Hip circles are not only used in Middle Eastern dance, but also in Hawaiian, Maori and other indigenous forms of dance. All these forms of dance, which use circular hip movements, have been linked to child birth rituals.

 

Many women in labour naturally move in the circular motion of belly dance. It's a natural way to get your baby in the best position for birth. It can even encourage labour to start if your baby is ready anyway!

Benefits of Belly Dance In Pregnancy

Some doctors and childbirth professionals encourage the practice of belly dance for

pregnancy and for labour too.

 

Here are some of the benefits:

 

  •  Strengthening pelvic and deep abdominal muscles and all those muscles specifically used for giving birth, thus facilitating the process of birth and of recovery.

  • It is good fun, great for relaxation and relieving stress at any time though in labour, this is particularly beneficial as it facilitates the production of Oxytocin which is essential for the progression of labour.

  • Encourages the baby into a forward (anterior) lying position; optimal position for labour and birth.

  • Can move a posterior baby off your back.

  • Improve self-confidence and positive body-image.

  • Aid and encourage good posture.

  • Help maintain general fitness.

  • Promote good balance and co-ordination.

  • Relieves pregnancy back pain.

  • Improves abdominal control and awareness.

  •  

  • Helps maintain pelvic floor tone and therefore reduces chances of uterine prolapse in later life.

  • Help you meet other expectant Mums and promote socialisation if you attend a class.

 

 

Belly dance is designed perfectly to help women’s bodies be in balance. When done during pregnancy or labour it helps the baby move into a good position ready for birth. The muscles of the uterus (womb) move the baby in a clock-wise corkscrew fashion. Belly dance moves enhance this natural action.

The process of muscle isolations, which is so important in belly dance, is also considered to be very helpful during child birth. According to experts, if a woman is capable of contracting some parts of her body, while at the same time relaxing all the other muscles, she will be able to feel more relaxed overall, while focusing only on the muscles involved in birthing the baby.

However, belly dance in pregnancy is not only about strong pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Some experts believe that some belly dance movements are good to relieve various symptoms. For example, they believe that belly rolls can help ease constipation; while heart shimmies can alleviate heartburn.

The leg movements can be quite hard work but will strengthen your legs for labour – while dancing you need to keep your knees ‘soft’ not locked. Good exercise for the gluts, thighs and calve muscles

 
Precautions and General Guidelines
  •  Belly dancing for pregnancy isn't recommended if you have pregnancy complications such as Gestational Diabetes, Pre-eclampsia, Placenta Previa or a history of premature labour though it is always recommended to consult with your doctor/midwife for individualised advice before commencing with any activity or exercise.

  • Keep a natural pelvic tilt (that is, keep your bottom tucked under).

  • Be aware of the softening of ligaments in your body, therefore avoid jumps, hip twists and sharp movements.

  • Listen to your body and avoid movements that cause pain or discomfort.

  • Stop exercising altogether if you feel unwell or experience bleeding, dizziness and/or pain.

  • Do not overheat and avoid exercising on hot days (if we ever have any 😉)

  • Keep well hydrated, drink plenty of water…it’s vigorous exercise.

  • Have a small healthy snack an hour or two before dancing.

 
My Experience

I started teaching dance after qualifying as a professional dancer and teacher of dance in 2007, I then went on to be a professional dancer for 8 years performing, teaching and learning a multitude of dance styles in countries all over the world. When I came back to live in the UK, I was based in London where I continued as a dance teacher for children and adults of all ages. Amongst the many styles I taught were Bollywood and Belly Dance to which I was also a part of the professional troupe that performed at events, festivals and celebrations across the UK as well as abroad.

I became pregnant with my first towards the end of 2014 and in 2015 we decided to move back up North to be closer to my friends and family. I continued dancing and taking part in classes right up until my son was born in August 2015 and I felt great for being so active. I also felt that it dramatically helped in the birth of my son as my fitness and stamina were of a good level. I also completely agree with what the experts suggest (which is included above) that the practice of muscle isolations in dance is beneficial to labour as it enables you to really work a muscle quite intensely while keeping everything else relaxed which is so important in labour in the production of oxytocin and endorphins.

After my son was born I decided to have a bit of a break and stay at home with him and so we had a lot of quality time together. After his first birthday I decided it was time to get back into teaching dance as I had definitely missed it. But I also knew I wanted to do something more. I had taken a parents Hypnobirthing Course while I was pregnant and I found a new passion in it as it was truly invaluable. So I decided I would train as a hypnobirthing teacher to share the knowledge and to enable more woman to have truly positive birth experiences wherever and however they give birth.

I then wondered how I could combine my two passions in life so I did a lot of research and decided that Pregnancy and Beginners Belly Dance was the perfect solution.

Disclaimer

This page has been written gathering information from various sources and it is only intended to give some general information on belly dance during pregnancy.

The content of the page does not provide exercises instructions for pregnant women. Every pregnancy is different and you need to make sure with your doctor that everything is ok before taking up physical activities during pregnancy.

Accredited by The Royal College of Midwives

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Emily Sheppard DipHB(KG) Hypnobirthing Haven, Carnforth, Lancashire, England