Last night, I taught Session 1 of my Loving Birth course to a gorgeous couple expecting their first baby. We discussed what they wanted during labour, talking at length about the kind of atmosphere they’d like to create. Did they want a calm, quiet environment to birth their baby (what we tend to encourage in Hypnobirthing) or did they want a more motivational, upbeat atmosphere? The reason she thought she might like the latter is because, in the past when she’s done anything physically challenging, like running a half marathon, she’s enjoyed listening to motivational music and talking to others as a way of distracting herself from the physical fatigue. She also loves to dance and wondered whether this would work well for her in labour.
Our conversation reminded me of this amazing video of a woman dancing through her labour, I could watch this again and again – it makes me so happy! She is instinctively keeping mobile to help her baby descend and to manage her surges. There is such a wonderful sense of fun in the room too = OXYTOCIN!!
In fact, dance and birth have long been connected – belly dancing actually originates as a birth dance with the purpose of facilitating labour. In ancient cultures, women would gather around the woman in childbirth and perform a dance to encourage the woman in labour to imitate the movements with her own body, performing hip circles, undulations, and figure eights – all things that many women do instinctively in childbirth.
My couple probably won’t decide what atmosphere they want until they go into labour but they can prepare for both and then go with whichever feels right in the moment. They may create different atmospheres depending on the stage of labour, perhaps dancing through the early stages (gently I might add – you need to conserve energy!) and then go with a calm, quiet environment as they prepare to meet their baby. The important thing is they’ve discussed it and can now start making those playlists!