NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — We all know that exercise is good for your health and that breast milk is good for a baby’s health.

Now, researchers have found that the benefits of exercise for moms-to-be can actually be passed along to their baby in breast milk.

CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has all the information you need to know.

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Andrea Berardi made it a priority to maintain her exercise routine throughout her pregnancy.

“It was really a struggle every day to stay active, especially during the third trimester,” Berardi said.

The Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center has extensively studied the benefits of maternal exercise, but little is understood about how or whether these advantages are passed from mom to baby.

Throughout their research, they’ve found a compound call 3SL in breast milk that played a major health role. In a new study, they monitored the exercise and activity of pregnant and postpartum women using activity trackers.

“And what we found was that 3SL was significantly correlated to the amount of steps per day and activity per day in these women,” Dr. Kristin Stanford said.

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While active moms produced more 3SL, researchers needed to confirm that the health benefits of exercise were in fact from breast milk and not simply inherited genetic traits. To do this, they gave mice born from sedentary mothers milk from mothers who were active throughout pregnancy.

“So we wanted to isolate the effects of the milk,” said Dr. Stanford. “What was really kind of striking is that we saw that these offspring who drank only the train milk had these beneficial effects of exercise.”

Those included reduced instances of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

“This was kind of the first time we were able to show that the milk, itself, was really having an impact,” said Dr. Stanford.

Better yet, levels of 3SL had nothing to do with the exercise intensity. Even a daily walk is enough to reap the lifelong benefits for your baby.

“If you’re able to exercise, anything you’re able to do is going to benefit you and it’s going to benefit your baby,” Dr. Stanford said.

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Many women aren’t able to breastfeed or are put on bed rest because of pregnancy complications. Researchers are working to isolate this beneficial compound in breast milk so that it can be added to infant formula in the future.


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