Relaxin and breastfeeding

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Relaxin and breastfeeding

Relaxin and breastfeeding
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Does relaxin take longer to leave a woman's body if she is breastfeeding? Is there any evidence to support this? I'm sure that during perinatal training there was some comment made about breastfeeding women having to take more care of their joints. Thanks
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Mon, Feb 6 2012 5:23 PM In reply to
vjkhodge

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Hi Yes relaxin is present for much longer if breastfeeding. So breastfeeding mums need to be careful about joint stability, really until they stop feeding.
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Tue, Feb 7 2012 1:44 AM In reply to
kimepearson

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Thanks vjkhodge. What I am looking for is evidence of this. Have you seen it written in a book or a paper. What is the source?
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Tue, Feb 7 2012 2:39 AM In reply to
francoisef

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HI Kim, the best source that also covers other effects of oxytocin and its relation to relaxin is Kerstin Uvnas Moberg. Her book 'The Oxytocin Factor' 2003 is still a classic but two new books of hers are coming out this Spring, which is why we have invited her to be a speaker at our 'Light on Parenting' conference in London (May 5th and 6th). Understanding how we can promote hormonal balance using yoga not only before birth but also after birth, particularly if as we hope new mums breastfeed for a few months, is part of ensuring continuity of care postnatally. Look up Kerstin! and we need to watch new mums who go back to a strong yoga practice too early and mess themselves up getting PGP. all best, Francoise.

Francoise
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Tue, Feb 7 2012 3:09 AM In reply to
kimepearson

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Hi Francoise. I am totally in agreement about women needing to wait a significant time before resuming strong yoga practice. I see the circumstantial evidence and qualitative data all the time, and also feel the impact in m own body. I am afraid I unwittingly became involved in a debate with a lactation consultant after having given some breastfeeding women some support on protecting their joints (they were sitting crossed legged to feed and experiencing knee pain. The lactation consultant wanted me to prove that there was some scientific evidence in support of breastfeeding women having to look after their joints more than bottle-feeding women. It may be that she does not want women to have an 'excuse' to not breastfeed. She has publicly challenged me to defend my position. I feel this is a huge shame because I feel that she has undermined the advice and support that I was giving to these women that they clearly appreciative of until she came along. I
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Tue, Feb 7 2012 11:51 AM In reply to
francoisef

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Hi Kim, sorry to hear about the situation you found yourself in but the best way out is to produce available evidence. Sometimes we need challenges to probe into things we say or do, and we get work we had not anticipated in the process but this is also how we learn and move on. If you use your research mind to create a small reference list about new mothers' need to protect their joints due to a greater propensity to pelvic instability and knee pain in the lactation period -an indeed this also applies to a lesser but significant extent to non breastfeeding new mothers- you will make a very useful contribution. I have a basic reference list and I have developed new postnatal micro-movements in response to my observation -unfortunately not quantified but perhaps this could be done soon- that more new mothers seem to be affected by pelvic instability in the first year after birth, and some even long term. I am happy to support you in going to the end of the line so that you can not just provide an adequate answer to your detractor but also help women along the way, this is more important. with love and best wishes, Francoise.
Francoise
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Tue, Feb 7 2012 3:53 PM In reply to
kirsteen

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Hi Kim

Your question prompted me to do a quick search- there's quite a lot of mention of relaxin postnataly but also alot of differing advice on how long its effects last- as we all know this is a very individual thing. Personally I breast fed until 19months ( albeit very little only at bedtime by that stage) and I noticed a significant change to greater pelvic stability at 6 weeks after stopping breast feeding. Here's a couple of references I found online:

http://pelvicgirdlepain.com/hormones-&-more.htm#relaxin%20pregnancy
Concentrations of relaxin during the two days immediately preceding parturition are significantly greater than all other days. After this time period relaxin is no longer manufactured in large amounts in the postnatal period. The effects of the hormones on the ligaments are still evident until about five months post birth.
http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthyliving/postnatalexercise.htm
Relaxin: post-birth, your body will still be carrying high levels of the hormone relaxin for up to five months - and longer if you're breastfeeding. Relaxin prepares the body for childbirth by softening the muscles and ligaments. This means you could easily overstretch softened muscles, causing injury.

Thank you for bringing your 'challenge' to the forum, it will help us all be clearer.
Best wishes
Kirsteen

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Sat, Feb 11 2012 10:12 AM In reply to
kimepearson

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Hi Francoise. Thanks for your reply. I have enjoyed the challenge of this somewhat, but I am very busy doing other things! I have compiled a small reading list and also researched some online journal articles relating to the subject. When I have time I would like to write an abstract for an article. The addition of your reference list and any observations you might have would be very welcome. I am particularly interested in knowing more about how you reached the conclusion that non-breastfeeding mothers also experience instability and also how long this lasts for after ceasing to feed. Is this mostly from experience in practice? Theoretically it could be related to continued presence of plasma relaxin. Thanks again! Kim
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Sat, Feb 11 2012 10:18 AM In reply to
kimepearson

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Dear Kirsteen. Many thanks for your kind reply and the links. Yes, I do think we need to be clear in what it is we are presenting as fact. It is useful to be reminded. Your support was helpful as I did find this situation challenging. My motivation was to help women who were clearly seeking some advice. I found your personal experience of breastfeeding interesting too. So far on our breastfeeding journey I have noticed a change in my joint stability since my baby turned nine months recently. I also noticed a significant change a few days after the birth (which correlates with the article you posted). Best regards, Kim.