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Exercise While Breastfeeding

September 19, 2019


Exercise While Breastfeeding

Moms face many barriers in the postpartum period, in regards to life balance, motherhood, breastfeeding, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and exercise program.

In the August 2019 Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, authors surveyed more than 600 moms about their physical activity pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. One reported barrier to physical activity was physical discomfort, such as the inability to find supportive nursing sports bras or pain due to recovery from a c-section. Some mothers reported concerns about a reduction in their milk supply, inability to pay for gym membership, and needing assistance with childcare during exercise. Not surprisingly, many moms listed a lack of time and energy as a major barrier to maintaining their physical health.

Despite these reported barriers, the majority of surveyed moms were able to report they take part in light physical activity for 4 hours per week.

For all moms, physical activity is one of the best things one can do postpartum to feel well.

Science has proven physical activity, even if it is high intensity, does not reduce milk supply or change the composition of milk.

Health care providers can educate mothers on how to remain active during the postpartum period and debunk concerns about milk supply reduction. Also, educating mothers on the risks of caloric restrictions and the importance of staying hydrated can help ensure moms will feel healthy postpartum.

Sources:

Perceptions of Physical Activity While Breastfeeding Using the Self-determination Theory

Article: "Human Insights"

Mother's Milk Bank Denver, CO 2019

Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC
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