The effect of an exercise intervention during early lactation on bone mineral density during the first year postpartum

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Cheryl A. Lovelady, Lake Simpson Dickson Distinguished Professor Emeritus (Creator)
Laurie Wideman, Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Background: During lactation, women may lose up to 10% of bone mineral density (BMD) at trabecular-rich sites. Previous studies show that resistance exercise may slow BMD; however, the long-term effects of exercise on BMD during lactation have not been reported. Objective: To evaluate the effect of two 16-week exercise interventions (4- to 20-wk postpartum) in lactating women at 1-year postpartum on lumbar spine, total body, and hip BMD. Methods: To increase sample size at 1-year postpartum, two 16-week exercise interventions were combined for analysis. At 4-week postpartum, 55 women were randomized to intervention group (weight bearing aerobic exercise and resistance exercise) or control group (no exercise) for 16-week, with a 1-year postpartum follow-up. BMD was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Repeated-measures analysis of covariance was used to test for time and group differences for BMD controlling for prolactin concentration and dietary calcium at 1-year postpartum. Results: Change in lumbar spine BMD was significantly different over time and between groups from 4-week to 1-year postpartum, when controlling for prolactin concentration and dietary calcium. There were no significant differences between groups in total body and hip BMD. Conclusion: These results suggest that resistance exercise may slow bone loss during lactation, resulting in higher BMD levels at 1-year postpartum.

Additional Information

Journal of Physical Activity & Health 16(3): 197-204
Language: English
Date: 2019
vitamin D, diet, breastfeeding

Email this document to