Self-selected recreational exercise has no impact on early postpartum lactation-induced bone loss. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 30, No. 6, pp. 831-836, 1998. Although exercise is known to positively impact bone mineral density (BMD), its effect on lactation-induced BMD loss has not been previously evaluated in a case-control study.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare lactation-induced bone changes in women who engaged in regular, self-selected, recreational exercise versus those who refrained from such during early postpartum.
Methods: Subjects were 20 healthy, lactating women who either exercised regularly (exercise, E; N = 11) or refrained from such (control, C; N = 9) during the first 3 months postpartum. Although preconception V˙O2max was significantly higher in E than C (E = 54.1, C = 36.9 mL·min−1·kg−1), no significant group differences were observed for parity, age, height, weight (WT), % body fat, dietary calcium intake, lactation calcium loss, and serum estradiol. Total body (TB), lumbar spine (LS), and femur neck (FN) BMD were measured within 2 wk of parturition and repeated at 3 months postpartum by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry.
Results: Although TB was unchanged, BMD decreased significantly from baseline in both groups at LS (C = −5.4, E= −4.1%) and FN (C = −2.7, E = −2.8%). WT decreased significantly over time but was not significantly correlated with BMD loss. No significant group by time interactions were observed for WT or BMD changes.
Conclusion: These results suggest that regular, self-selected, recreational E has no impact on early postpartum lactation-induced BMD loss.