An exercise programme during pregnancy appears to produce a lower pro-inflammatory profile in breast milk, especially in the colostrum, and in addition may confer greater neurodevelopment and neuroprotection in the newborn

In November 2018 researchers from Spain published the results of their study to assess the effect of an exercise programme during pregnancy on colostrum and inflammatory markers in mature breast milk. Only women able to produce enough milk were included in the final study analysis, resulting in a total of 47 women being assessed. Twenty-four of the women had followed an aerobic and strength training exercise programme, three 60-minutes sessions per week, from the 17th gestational week until delivery, whilst 23 women acted as a control group. Colostrum and mature human milk pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines were measured. Results showed that the breast milk from mothers who had followed the exercise programme had a significantly lower pro-inflammatory profile, especially in the colostrum. In addition, these mothers had 30% greater fractalkine and a borderline significant 20% higher interleukin-10 levels, which may confer a greater neurodevelopment and neuroprotection in the newborn.

Aparicio VA et al. Influence of a Concurrent Exercise Training Program During Pregnancy on Colostrum and Mature Human Milk Inflammatory Markers: Findings From the GESTAFIT Project. J Hum Lact. 2018 Nov;34(4):789-798.

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