Can Dancing During Pregnancy Help Reduce the Risk of Gestational Diabetes?Jan 02, 2023
by Stephanie Larson
When you’re pregnant you naturally pay extra attention to your health and well-being, because you’re staying healthy for two now. This is a great time to start or continue a healthy lifestyle. Gestational diabetes is a common complication of pregnancy, affecting approximately 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The good news is, you can be proactive to help prevent it.
Dancing is a fun and engaging form of physical activity that has numerous health benefits. There are several ways in which dancing helps prevent gestational diabetes. One of the most important is by helping you maintain a healthy weight. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can lead to developing gestational diabetes. Dancing burns calories, which can prevent excess weight gain. It also builds muscle, which can increase metabolism and further aid in weight management.
Dancing also has the ability to improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is a common cause of gestational diabetes, and by improving insulin sensitivity, pregnant women and pregnant individuals can reduce their risk of developing the condition. Dancing has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes, and it is believed that the same benefits may also apply to pregnant women. According to a 2019 study, “Dancing is indicated for the management of diabetes to improve psychosocial parameters, motor control, insulin sensitivity, vascular health, and the efficiency of immune function.”
Another benefit of dancing is that it reduces stress and improves mental health, both of which can have a positive impact on gestational diabetes. Pregnancy can be a stressful time for many people, and high levels of stress can have negative effects on you and your baby. Dancing improves mood and overall mental well-being. By managing stress and maintaining good mental health during your pregnancy you can reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes.
The social benefits of dancing should not be overlooked. Many pregnant people feel isolated or lonely, and dancing can provide a sense of community and social support. By joining a dance class, such as Dancing For Birth class, you can connect with others who are also pregnant, and this social support can be an important factor in your healthy pregnancy.
Can dancing during pregnancy help reduce the risk of gestational diabetes? Yes, for all of these reasons, incorporating dancing into your life is a great way to reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes and enjoy a healthier pregnancy. Dance on!
"Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period." American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, April 2020, https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2020/04/physical-activity-and-exercise-during-pregnancy-and-the-postpartum-period
"Gestational Diabetes." Mayo Clinic (N.D.) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gestational-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355339
"Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes." American Diabetes Association, https://diabetesjournals.org/care/article/39/11/2065/37249/Physical-Activity-Exercise-and-Diabetes-A-Position
OuYang H, Chen B, Abdulrahman AM, Li L, Wu N. “Associations between Gestational Diabetes and Anxiety or Depression: A Systematic Review.” J Diabetes Res. 2021 Jul 27;2021:9959779. doi: 10.1155/2021/9959779. PMID: 34368368; PMCID: PMC8337159. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8337159/
Borges L, Passos MEP, Silva MBB, Santos VC, Momesso CM, Pithon-Curi TC, Gorjão R, Gray SR, Lima KCA, de Freitas PB, Hatanaka E. “Dance Training Improves Cytokine Secretion and Viability of Neutrophils in Diabetic Patients.” Mediators Inflamm. 2019 Nov 20;2019:2924818. doi: 10.1155/2019/2924818. PMID: 31827375; PMCID: PMC6886327. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6886327/#B6