I recently watched "Birth as We Know it", a beautiful Russian documentary on waterbirth in which the narrator talks briefly about "spiralling" one's hips during labor and touched on the existence of other spirals in nature. I wish she had gone further! Spirals are a huge part of nature, from the Fibonacci number to the Galaxy, spirals are everywhere. Our babies spiral (somewhat) as they are born of us, performing the cardinal movements as they emerge. Certainly spiraling our hips can assist the baby in his or her rotations and eases the discomfort of labor.
Which brings me to bellydance. I was lucky enough to begin bellydancing when I was pregnant with my son, ten years ago. Little did I know the huge connection between this ancient art form and birth. Many believe that bellydance, or raqs sharki, was the original childbirth preparation. I always say that the sounds and movements that get the baby in, also get the baby out. So the undulations, and certainly the spiraling of one's hips aid labor. Plus, it feels good and makes you feel sexy even when you're fifty pounds heavier than usual with gigantic ankles! It's a lovely almost perfect form of low impact exersize that looks great if you're a sylph or a goddess sized woman. (I tend to believe that goddess size women are particularly beautiful when performing bellydance, it's mesmerizing). Trilling, ululating, or zagareeting (all different words for the same vocalization) too play a part in birth. Women ululated during a friend or family member's labor and it's said that when they hit a certain pitch, it would resonate throughout the laboring woman's body, erasing the pain! Having used a LOT of vocalization during my labor, I can attest to the fact that there are certain pitches (low, long, loose) that decrease pain and some (high, tight) that increase it.
Bellydance is finally becoming more mainstream, women in the smallest town can order bellydance DVDs off the interenet, or find a class at the local community ed center. Bellydance in birth is becoming more popular too. Here are a few websites to look into to better acquaint yourself with the art of bellydance. Hope you enjoy them and happy shimmying!