Perceptions of Physical Activity While Breastfeeding Using the Self-Determination Theory

Research & Knowledge,

Snyder, Kailey PhD; Hanson, Corrine PhD; Hill, Jenni PhD; Dinkel, Danae PhD

Engaging in physical activity and breastfeeding are 2 of the healthiest behaviors a new mother can participate in, yet a majority of mothers are not achieving physical activity or breastfeeding recommendations. Breastfeeding mothers may experience additional barriers to physical activity; however, more research is needed. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to determine the physical activity levels of breastfeeding women as well as to better understand their motivation and barriers for engaging in physical activity.

In this cross-sectional study, the authors investigate the following questions as related to breastfeeding and perceptions of physical activity. 

  1. What is the physical activity frequency and type for women that are breastfeeding?
  2. What motivation (intrinsic/extrinsic) do women have for participating in physical activity while breastfeeding? 
  3. What barriers exist that prevent women from meeting physical activity recommendations when breastfeeding?  
  4. How do these barriers to physical activity and differences in motivation relate to the Self-Determination Theory? 
  5. What can providers do to support and encourage physical activity in breastfeeding mothers? 

Read the Research Report to learn more about how the Self-Determination Theory can influence physical activity levels in women that are breastfeeding.