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Physical exercise and the lactating woman: a qualitative pilot study of mothers' perceptions and experiences.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Breastfeeding review : professional publication of the Nursing Mothers' Association of Australia
Publication Date
Volume
12
Issue
2
Pages
11–17
Identifiers
PMID: 17891862
Source
Medline

Abstract

This study aimed to explore the lactating woman's perceptions and experiences of physical exercise. Utilising quantitative and qualitative measures, six lactating women (average age = 31.6 years) who had recently given birth and were engaging in regular exercise, took part in open-ended, semi-structured interviews and questionnaires which focused on their individual experiences. The mothers also completed inventories measuring self-esteem, the presence of postnatal depression, and a retrospective survey gauging their preconception, prenatal and current participation in physical activity. The main themes to emerge from teh content analysis of the qualitative data included perceived well-being from improved energy and stress levels, and weight control. Some of the mothers stated that exercise affected their breastfeeding in a negative way by possibly reducing their breastmilk supply. All mothers confirmed exercise as enhancing the maternal-infant relationship. It is recommended that future research be conducted into the exercise prescription guidelines for women to enhance breastfeeding success.

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