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- Mayo Clinic: Are Sagging Breasts Inevitable After Breast Feeding?
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise after Pregnancy: How to Get Started
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As wonderful as it is to have a baby, pregnancy can take a toll on a woman's body. One area of concern is your breasts. As pregnancy progresses, a woman's breasts grow larger and heavier as they engorge with milk, causing the ligaments supporting the breasts to stretch 2. This reduced support may cause breasts to sag to some degree. Subsequent pregnancies, being overweight and having large breasts to begin with can worsen the effect. However, you can remedy this sagging by performing breast exercises after the pregnancy that build up chest muscles 35.
How Breast Exercises Work
Your breast is comprised of multiple elements. Inside your breast you have milk ducts and glands surrounded by fatty tissues. Underneath these tissues, ducts and glands lies the pectoralis major muscle, or the chest muscle, which helps to support the tissue. Because your breast is comprised of fatty tissues, and because you cannot tighten up the stretched muscles, you must work the chest muscle via breast exercises to tone and lift the breast 5.
Breast Exercise Example
Simple breast exercises can work the pectoral muscle to produce firmer, less saggy breasts 5. A simple exercise to perform is push-ups. Start off performing five to 10 push-ups a day, gradually increasing your daily routine to between 20 and 30 push-ups, says the Breast Exercises website 5. If original push-ups are too hard, try resting on your knees instead of extending your legs. You can also do these push-ups vertically using a sturdy wall for support.
Breast Exercises while Breastfeeding
According to the Life Mojo website, performing exercises, including breast exercises, while breastfeeding is okay 5. Your baby will still receive the nutrients and health benefits he needs from your milk. In addition, you will still produce the same amount of milk. However, high-intensity exercises may cause a build-up of lactic acid in the milk, causing a sour taste that the baby may not enjoy, says Mayoclinic.com. Thus, the website suggests you stick to a workout of moderate intensity or throw away milk produced a half hour post-workout. For optimum comfort, Lifemojo.com suggests breastfeeding prior to starting your exercise routine.
Many physicians approve the start of a routine after your six-week postpartum checkup, according to Lifemojo.com. However, if you have maintained a routine during pregnancy and had a complication-free delivery, it is usually acceptable to exercise within the six weeks post-delivery, says Mayoclinic.com. Consult your physician if you have any questions regarding the appropriate time to start your routine. In addition, the website suggests you consult your doctor if you had a C-section, extensive vaginal repair or complicated birth, as these affect when you can start an exercise regimen. In addition, be sure not to overexert yourself. Start gradually, with the initial physical activity level being the same as during the last month of your pregnancy.
Other lifestyle factors influence the saggy appearance of breasts. These include uncontrollable factors such as aging and lifestyle, like smoking and being overweight, says Mayoclinic.com. These factors reduce the amount of skin elasticity, causing the saggy appearance. Though you cannot control age, you can alter your lifestyle habits to ensure optimum breast appearance. In addition, maintain a healthy diet and engage in regular physical exercise.
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