How Dancing Prepares You for Birth

Three women chatting after a Dancing for Birth class.
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Preparing for motherhood and the birth of your child is a special time filled with “firsts” and new experiences. There’s a lot to know about the process, how it will affect your body and what to expect during labor. Fortunately, you can learn most of this by becoming part of a fellowship of women who have gone or are going through it also, while also getting fit for your labor. To learn more about this unique program, we spoke with certified childbirth educator and registered yoga instructor, April Eckwielen.

What is the Birth Preparation Trifecta?

“The dancing in our Dancing for Birth class is only one part of the birth prep trifecta,” explains Eckwielen. “The three parts of the trifecta are prenatal fitness, which the dancing covers, birth education and the celebration of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. In our class we cover all three of these in a fun and community-oriented way.”

“We’re a tribe of women helping and supporting one another and sharing our knowledge and experience. The class allows you to celebrate your birth and the wisdom which is already inside you and helps wake you up and get you out.”

Childbirth education covers what’s going on with your body during labor, what’s going on with your baby, and how you can cope with the pain of contractions and the different stages of labor, including different birthing positions.

Dancing for Prenatal Fitness

“Class starts with an open circle time where we get to know each other and have some education,” says Eckwielen. “Then we go into movements which are inspired by belly dance, African dance and Latin dance. Basically, these dances teach how to listen to your body and move accordingly, which comes in handy during labor and helps with different movements.”

These movements are largely focused around using gravity to the greatest advantage. A lot of the movements are about enlarging the dimensions of your pelvis to ease baby’s passage through. They also help your baby rotate and descend.

“These types of dances help moms feel good and get into different laboring positions and let them know they can get through their labor and to listen to their body. It also helps to get through the contractions and help baby’s passage through labor. There are a lot of studies which have shown these types of exercises and dance moves may reduce labor time, C-section rates, the need for epidurals and other pain medications while reducing unnecessary intervention.”

When You Can Join the Tribe

“There’s no wrong time to start classes,” says Eckwielen. “You can start before you become pregnant, while you’re trying to conceive and all the way through to labor and even during. And afterward, you can come back to class with your baby and continue with the fellowship you’ve formed.”

“If your doctor has you on bedrest or tells you to take it easy, you can still come for the educational aspect as well as for the comradery, or just to sit and relax and enjoy the atmosphere. It’s not your typical exercise class.”

Classes are 90 minutes and are held at different campuses throughout the area. To find out where classes are being held near you or to purchase tickets, please visit our site.

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