Why You Should Dance Through Pregnancy and Postpartum
I understand. You’re exhausted, and the last thing you can imagine doing in your pregnant or postpartum bod is shakin’ your thang. But let me tell you something.
Music and moving to it solves everything. Every. Thing. And the positive effects usually last beyond the four to five-minute song that did it for you.
I’m sure you’ve experienced it first hand before–you know how when a great song suddenly plays and instantly you feel energized, alert, and you can even feel your heart beat a little faster? The kind that gets your head bobbing, toes tapping, hips shaking. You know the kind. It’s as simple as that. But the thing is, when you’re pregnant or just had a baby, you may be afraid to move your body like you used to, or of overdoing it. Or maybe you feel embarrassed or unsure. Or maybe your exhaustion is getting in the way of you being open to this idea that you can dance during pregnancy and postpartum.
I’ll go as far as saying you should dance, and consider it among your valuable tools in your Thriving in Motherhood toolbox that you can rely on daily.
In fact, just yesterday I pulled up the Disco station on Pandora TWICE, and it worked to resolve situations that might have otherwise ended up hopelessly. First, I turned my fussy kids into giggling chatterboxes at the sight of their mama demonstrating the “disco point” and singing along with a song that included “oogie, oogie” in the lyrics.
Then, in Mommy and Me yoga, it was near the end of class. Babies were getting tired and were starting to join one another in their cries of “enough!” Some mamas had apologetic looks, others seemed ready to simultaneously laugh and cry at the sheer exhaustion and overwhelm of trying to fit a practice in for themselves while also tending to their baby’s needs. So I flipped on the disco station for a mere three minutes. With babies cradled near their hearts, we stomped out, shook out, moved about, feeling the rhythm and releasing whatever needed to go. Disco.
Do you know, every baby was quiet for savasana? One even fell asleep… Mamas in bliss.
There’s plenty of science to show that music and movement change the chemistry in the brain and improve bodily functions by increasing secretion of seratonin and other mood-enhancing “happiness” hormones. Music clears; music stirs us at the soul level.
And it’s no different during pregnancy and postpartum. In fact, a woman is particularly drawn into her body during the childbearing year, so dancing when and how your body wants to move may be even more important and beneficial now. Plus, not only do you benefit from dancing, but so does your baby whether in utero or participating in your arms, as they become soothed by the rhythms of your breath, heart and movement.
Even during childbirth, dancing has been proven to help the baby drop and shorten labor significantly.
Now, I just happen to be on a disco kick right now because it’s almost impossible not to dance when I hear it. But your dancing doesn’t have to be so high energy. During pregnancy, it can be very grounding and freeing to move fluidly and slowly to drumming music. I particularly like Gabrielle Roth for her earthy, sensuous, bold sounds infused with sounds of nature and breath. Postpartum, dancing can get you out of whatever “funk” you might be in.
Turn on something that lets you move freely and with great abandon. If your kids are around, just let them be and chances are they will join you for the few minutes of random fun. And you’ll get the release and support you need in the moment to move through whatever seems to ail you.
Ready to shake off somethin’ now? Click below to Boogie oogie oogie with me, and let me know how it goes in the comments!
Dance on, mama!