ArticleLiterature Review

Dancing through pregnancy: activity guidelines for professional and recreational dancers

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Over the past few years the benefits of exercise during pregnancy have become appreciated. Much attention has been given to common forms of exercise, such as aerobic dance, swimming, cycling and running. The effects of professional and recreational dance during pregnancy, such as ballet or flamenco, for example, have not been explored. Many studies, however, address issues relevant to dance. The purpose of this article is to delineate as clearly as possible what dance activities are safe and even possibly beneficial for the mother and her baby, as well as those activities and levels of exertion that should be avoided.

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... 28 Studies and opinion articles have described dancing during pregnancy and labor as joyful, relaxing, strengthening, and offering a connection between the mother and her developing baby. 4,13,15,21,30,31 Some forms of dance, such as belly dancing, may positively affect body image and self-esteem. 30 In the only randomized trial to evaluate dancing during the first stage of labor, women's satisfaction was significantly higher in the dancing group. ...
... Previous research has shown that women's sense of control during birth is the main contributing factor to birth satisfaction and emotional well-being, which might be improved with dancing. 4,15,21,25,30,31 However, because lying down facilitates fetal monitoring during labor, this seemingly simple intervention represents a major birth culture shift in U.S. hospitals and may prove difficult to implement. 18,27 Considerations include staff training for effective delivery of this particular intervention, measuring the start of intervention, standardized reporting for types of movements, maintaining the appropriate amount of monitoring of labor progress, music selection, noise-level monitoring, and more. ...
Over the past 30 years, medical interventions in pregnancy and childbirth have increased. Some pregnant women seek less invasive and nonpharmacological options to manage discomforts during labor. While exercise during pregnancy is recommended, less is known about exercise, specifically dancing, during labor. While anecdotal evidence is supportive, little is known about the implications of exercise and dance during the first stage of labor for pain reduction and labor progression. Some movements common in dance, such as expanding hip circles that loosen and relax muscles of the pelvic floor, may be beneficial to women during labor. Available evidence suggests that dancing during the first stage of labor may decrease duration and intensity of pain and increase patient satisfaction, but further study is warranted. Ultimately, before assessing the implications of dance during labor, a feasibility study should be conducted to determine pregnant women's willingness to participate in a prospective or randomized controlled trial.
... [1][2][3][4] Studies and opinion articles have described dancing during pregnancy as joyful, relaxing, strengthening, and offering a connection between the mother and her developing baby. [5][6][7][8][9] Dancing during pregnancy has become increasingly popular from social media trends like the "Baby Momma Challenge," which challenges pregnant women to perform a dance during the last weeks of pregnancy prior to labor. 10 Additionally, videos of women dancing during the first stage of labor have become increasingly popular, with media outlets posting videos of pregnant women dancing during early latent labor. ...
Recent social media trends have demonstrated increased interest in dancing during the final weeks of pregnancy and labor. However, there is limited evidence about dancing during labor and its impact on labor pain and duration as well as patient satisfaction. Before conducting a prospective study, given that enrollment is often challenging, our feasibility study aimed to assess the willingness of pregnant women to participate in a future study evaluating low-impact dance during labor. We anonymously surveyed a convenience sample of English-speaking/reading pregnant women who presented for prenatal care at 1 of 3 clinics from June 2019 to July 2019. Questions related to women's interest in dancing during labor and limited demographic information were collected and analyzed. Overall, 88.6% of pregnant women who completed the survey expressed interest in participating in a future study on low-impact dance during labor, with Caucasian patients and those ≥35 years of age being less interested in future participation (P<0.05 for both). Interest in participating was not influenced by any other demographic characteristic, pregnancy history, or current activity level. Given sufficient interest among pregnant women in participating in a study aimed at evaluating the potential benefits of low-impact dance during labor, enrollment numbers may be easier to achieve than previously expected.
Physical exercise should be part of an active lifestyle during pregnancy and the puerperium, as shown by growing evidence on its benefits for the health of pregnant women and newborns. Appropriate exercise testing and exercise prescription are needed to tailor effective and safe exercise programs. Exercise testing and prescription in pregnancy is the plan of exercise and fitness-related activities designed to meet the health and fitness goals and motivations of the pregnant woman. It should address the health-related fitness components and the pregnancy-specific conditions, based on previous health and exercise assessments, and take into account the body adaptations and the pregnancy-related symptoms of each stage of pregnancy and postpartum, in order to provide safe and effective exercise. This chapter reviews the guidelines for exercise testing and prescription of pregnant and postpartum women to be developed by exercise professionals, following the health screening and medical clearance for exercise by healthcare providers.
Two case reports review the chiropractic treatment and rehabilitation management of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). Patient 1: a 35-year-old female presented at 30 weeks pregnant with severe left sided Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction and low back pain. Patient 2: a 33-year-old female also 30 weeks pregnant, presented with right sided Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction and sacroiliac pain. Treatment included soft tissue therapy, pregnancy support belt, side-lying mobilizations, pelvic blocks and instrument-assisted pubic symphysis adjustments. Home advice included: ice, staying active, moving as a unit, stretching, use of a pillow between the knees while sleeping, regular breaks from sitting and pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises. Both patients reported some relief with treatment and home care. Post-partum, rehabilitation exercises were prescribed to restore muscular endurance, control and pelvic stability. On long-term follow-up patient 1 reported no pubic symphysis pain, but some low back pain secondary to a subsequent knee injury. Patient 2 reported being mostly pain free with a rare re-exacerbation of pubic symphysis pain. Conservative chiropractic management appears to reduce pain and improve mobility and function for SPD. Post partum rehabilitation of the associated lumbo-pelvic musculature with specific stabilization exercises is recommended to reduce pain, improve long term outcomes and prevent chronicity.
To compare three physical activity (PA) measures in pregnant women and examine mood correlates of physical activity changes during pregnancy. A sample of 12 pregnant women (PW) was recruited during their first trimester and 12 nonpregnant women (NPW) (baseline age = 30.7 +/- 4.4 yr) were matched to the PW (29.8 +/- 4.2 yr). Once monthly, for seven consecutive months, total weekly energy expenditure (TWEE) was assessed using a physical activity diary (PAD) and a recall interview (PAR). Accelerometers were worn for 3 d each month. Mood was also assessed. A two-factor mixed-model ANOVA was used to analyze the data (2 groups [PW vs NPW] x 7 times across pregnancy). Mean PAR TWEE and daily mean MTI counts were positively and moderately correlated with mean PAD TWEE (PW: r = 0.40 and NPW: r = 0.50, P < 0.001). The MTI counts decreased significantly in PW by 23% from gestational weeks 12 to 36 compared with a 5% decrease in NPW. Fatigue and vigor scores improved from gestational weeks 12 to 16 and worsened from weeks 32 to 36 in PW. Changes in PA were not correlated to changes in mood in either group. The results provide some evidence for the validity of the 7-d PAR and accelerometer as measures of physical activity in pregnancy. Healthy women who maintain an above average level of physical activity during the second and third trimesters can enjoy mood stability.
The aim of the study was to investigate physical activity prior to pregnancy, occupation, and treatment in women with low back pain and pelvic pain (LBPP) during pregnancy. All women who gave birth at two hospitals in northern Sweden from 1 January 2002 to 30 April 2002 were invited to complete a questionnaire on their obstetric and gynaecological history, actual pregnancy, and delivery. The sample was analysed with calculation of odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI). Cox regression analyses were performed. Women with LBPP reporting a pain maximum of 7 or more on a visual analogue scale (0-10 cm) were considered to have "high pain score LBPP" (hps-LBPP). The response rate was 83% (n = 891). A higher number of years of regular leisure physical activity (RLPA) decreased the risk of LBPP during pregnancy. The risk of hps-LBPP was increased for women who characterized their occupation as "mainly active" (OR = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.1-3.5) and "physically demanding" (OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.1-3.2). Visiting a physician as a result of LBPP was reported by 46.2%, and the mean number of visits was 2.0. One-third of women with LBPP had received treatment, as had half of women with hps-LBPP. A higher number of years of previous RLPA decreases the risk of LBPP during pregnancy. Occupations described as "mainly active" and "physically demanding" are associated with increased risk of hps-LBPP during pregnancy.