Labor and birth are intense physical challenges that require endurance and stamina over an extended period of time, the ability to cope with high intensity intervals and quick recovery, strength, mobility, emotional support, and the ability to enter a parasympathetic or alpha brain wave driven state. These factors point to a physical preparation based on evidence of exercise principles that produce progress in these areas.

These well-established principles in exercise physiology – listed below – help us meet these needs. Note these are physiological principles, not methods. Some validated methods of achieving outcomes derived from applying these principles are given as examples in the discussion that follows.

  • Training Specificity (covered in post 1)
  • Overload and Progression (covered in post 2)
  • Muscle Bonding (discussed in this post)
  • Flow (or The Zone)


“Synchronized motion triggers a sublimation of selfish drives and needs in order to function as a single organism” – Left, Right, Left, Right, Muscular Bonding and the Hive Trigger

The evolving concept of muscle bonding through synchronized motion emerged primarily in two fields of study, military behavior and ritual practices in the arts, sports and celebrations. These discussions center on the development of group cohesiveness and support that evolve over time via intense synchronized motion [16,17]. Raising the pain threshold has also been noted in exercise science due to the release of endorphins in response to the stress of intense exercise [18,19]. Recently, the effects of elevated pain threshold and bonding have been demonstrated independent of each other in synchronized dancing[20].

Figure 5: The presenting affect of the hive trigger is joy.

Muscle bonding and its hive trigger are useful for labor preparation. Cooperation needs practice. Lowering one’s pain threshold requires practice. In labor, continuous support of the mother is critical. Working as a team includes the mother accepting support. Hence, fairly intense synchronized group movement can serve as a method of enhancing these skills and helps explain why [group] aerobic activities contribute greatly to reduced needs for interventions[4,5,10].

Figure 6: Note the same joyful expression on the face of a new mom who prepared to “dance” with her birth team .

The cooperative – or “hive” – effect is independent of another outcome: alteration of the pain threshold through release of endorphins due to intense movement. Both effects are helpful in labor and birth.  Note the joyful look on the faces of active moms-to-be, moving together.

In recovery, this type of activity might also be examined as a means to reduce the incidence of postpartum mood disorders.


References for Post #3:

  1. Owe KM et al. Exercise during pregnancy and risk of cesarean delivery in nulliparous women: a large population-based cohort study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Dec;215(6):791.e1-791.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.08.014. Epub 2016 Aug 23.
  2. Barakat R et al. Exercise during pregnancy is associated with a shorter duration of labor. A randomized clinical trial. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. 2018 224:33–40.
  1. Newton EF, May L. Adaptation of Maternal-Fetal Physiology to Exercise in Pregnancy: The Basis of Guidelines for Physical Activity in Pregnancy. Clin Med Insights: Women’s Health. 2017; 10: 1179562X17693224. Published online 2017 Feb 23. doi: 10.1177/1179562X17693224.
  1. Wray H. All together now: The universal appeal of moving in unison. Scientific American Mind. April 1, 2009.
  2. Wiltermuth SS, Heath C. Synchrony and cooperation. Psychol Sci.2009 Jan;20(1):1-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02253.x.
  3. Cohen EEA Ejsmond-Frey R, Knight N, Dunbar RIM. 2009. Biology Letters, 6, 106-108. (doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0670)
  4. Dishman RK, O’Connor, PJ. 2009. Lessons in exercise neurobiology: The case of endorphins. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 2: 4-9. (doi:10.1016/j.mhpa.2009.01.002)
  5. Tarr B, Launay J, Cohen E, Dunbar R. 2015 Synchrony and exertion during dance independently raise pain threshold and encourage social bonding. Biology Letters11:20150767.


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