Southeast WI Archive
  • Southeast Wisconsin
  • December 2014
Written by  Kamala McCormick

Dancing For Birth — Childbirth education and prenatal fitness

Imagine the elation of freely moving your hips and dancing through labor and birth! Dancing For Birth is a childbirth education and fitness program that was created by childbirth professional and dance instructor Stephanie Larson. Don’t think that dance is only for those trained since childhood or the professionals on stage and screen; dance is for you!

Dancing For Birth incorporates different dance styles, mainly utilizing movements inspired by belly dance. The program helps build strength, body awareness and flexibility, and includes movements that build a woman’s confidence in her body’s ability to give birth. The moves are simple yet fun and the unconventional childbirth education is empowering! After the baby is born, just wear baby in your favorite wrap or sling and move and dance toward a healthy recovery.

“If a woman had no preconceived notion of how to give birth and was without culture or media to tell her how she should do it, she would birth by changing her position in response to her body’s cues, becoming a mother as effortlessly and as knowingly as she grew from an infant to child into a woman.” —Stephanie Larson

Freedom of movement during labor is the most important factor for effective birthing. The physiological reasons that allow dancing to facilitate birth are important to consider. Dancing, even swaying, during labor helps a woman to let her body move and work with the contractions rather than resist them.

Dancing reduces the physical stress and tension on a mother because she is occupied with movement. Breathing is deeper and more regular, reducing adrenaline that could slow labor by causing the circular uterine muscles to close. Dancing uses gravity to mom’s advantage and the changes in position positively affect the frequency, length and duration of contractions. If a mom hums or sings with the music she is listening to, she helps open her cervix and vagina. These sphincters are affected by the openness of the mouth and throat.

Dancing movements also increase the dimensions of the pelvis. When arched, the pelvis is most open. Asymmetry of the pelvis creates more usable space for the baby to move, turn and fit. The mother’s upright, forward movements help the baby achieve an optimal fetal position. This desirable left occipital anterior (LOA) position (a baby on mother’s left side) allows direct pressure of baby’s head against the mother’s cervix, aiding in dilation. Physiologically, dancing allows the back of the pelvis to move backward and allow the baby to be born without active pushing.

There are many psychological reasons dancing enhances birth. Dancing creates a woman’s awareness of her body’s cues and baby’s needs. A mother is empowered to actively participate in bringing her baby into the world. Moms feel less pain and more satisfaction when they are able to experience freedom of movement. The autonomy and control facilitate the psychological peace needed for birth.

Dancing For Birth increases an expectant mother’s strength, focus and purpose while accentuating her grace and sense of the beauty in childbirth. Moms who dance for childbirth intimately know the celebration and empowerment that is theirs in bringing life into the world.


Kamala McCormick is a birth doula. She is a certified pregnancy and postpartum fitness educator and Dancing For Birth instructor. Kamala holds certified credentials through DONA International, International Childbirth Education Association and Dancing For Birth.

She is the owner of Blossoms Pregnancy Boutique and Wellness Center in Fond du Lac. She instructs, empowers and assists women during their pregnancy and motherhood journeys. Kamala serves clients throughout the metro-Milwaukee and Fox Valley regions.

To learn more about Kamala’s practice, visit http://kamaladoula.com, or contact her at 920-979-8336 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

References: The Labor Progress Handbook. P. Simkin and R. Ancheta. Blackwell Science. 2000.

InaMay’s Guide to Childbirth. I.M. Gashin. Bantam Dell. 2003.

Let Birth Be Born Again. J. Sutton. Birth Concepts. 2001.

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