14:34 PM

Are Breastfeeding Runners at Greater Risk of Bone Injuries?

Runners World reports on stress fractures and how to prevent them during the postpartum period according to experts including Jessica Rachel Starr, MD, endocrinologist at HSS. 

Postpartum stress fractures in female runners can be common. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding combined with factors such as sleep deprivation contribute to these injuries. 

Dr. Starr says, “Hormones govern this process: Estrogen regulates the breakdown of old bone and the growth of new bone. Levels rise during pregnancy, drop upon delivery, and remain lower lower during breastfeeding.”

“Lactating also stimulates the release of parathyroid-related hormone, which tells the body to break down bone,” explained Dr. Starr.

When Dr. Starr treats athletes with other vulnerabilities—such as pre-existing low bone density or an eating disorder—she’ll discuss the pros and con of breastfeeding, and when to wean, in their specific situation. Still, she rarely advises against breastfeeding altogether.

Read the full article at runnersworld.com.