Exercise and breastfeeding: Effects on breast milk composition and infant health

Exercise and breastfeeding: Effects on breast milk composition and infant health

We now know a lot about the effects of exercise on various organs and how it affects our health, but there is very little research on the effect of exercise training on breast milk. The aim of this study is to determine if exercise after delivery influences breast milk composition among and infant growth and health.

Baby held in parent's arms with the feet exposed to the camera. Pixabay.

The study starts ~6 weeks after delivery. It is good if potential participants contact us before this time. The participants will be randomly allocated to one of two groups:

  1. Intervention group: Endurance exercise with moderate to high intensity, 2-4 times per week for 8 weeks. The training will be adjusted to your cardiorespiratory fitness level. You will receive guidance and supervision from study collaborators, and we will watch your baby during the exercise sessions.
  2. Control group: No intervention, just continue with habitual living.

The study period is approximately 8 weeks, but with follow-up of the mother at 6 months after completion of the first 8 weeks and of the infant until 2 years of age.

Criteria for participation:

  • 18 years old or more
  • BMI: 25 kg/m2 or more before pregnancy, or 28 kg/m2  or more after delivery
  • Exclusively breastfeeding on child born to term (after pregnancy week 36 + 6)
  • Living in the Trondheim area
  • Understands oral and written Norwegian

You can calculate your BMI on this website.

The study implies that we will do assessments of you and the baby, and collect breast milk. You will get an electrical breast milk pump and those who come back for assessments after 6 months will get infant food for approximately NOK 500.

The project is completed at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU, in collaboration with the Women’s Clinic at St. Olavs Hospital, and is approved by the Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK).  The project is funded by the European Research Council. 

Logo of the European Research Council (ERC) and the European flag side by side.

Wish to participate?

Please contact Trine Moholdt to participate or for more information. See her contact details to the right (or below if you are on a mobile phone).

We have other studies on exercise and breast milk that may be relevant for you to participate in: See this page for our on-going projects. 



Trine Tegdan Moholdt
Research Scientist and Head of the Exercise, Cardiometabolic Health and Reproduction (ExCaR) Research Group