Breastfeeding Reduces Pain after a Cesarean Section
Breast milk is the most important and appropriate source of food for newborns during their first months of life. But apparently, breastfeeding also reduces pain after a cesarean section.
The effects that breastfeeding has on post-cesarean pain aren’t very well known.
Statistics show that cesarean sections are on the rise. They represent approximately 25% of all births that occur in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.
Studies show that at least 1 in 5 mothers who give birth this way are affected by chronic pain for more than three months. However, a recent study revealed that breastfeeding can work as an effective antidote to this type of pain.
How was the conclusion reached that breastfeeding reduces the pain after a cesarean?
The results were obtained after an investigation carried out by Dr. Carmen Alicia Vargas Berenjeno and her colleagues from the University Hospital Nuertra Senora de Valme. The university is located in the Spanish city of Seville.
The study was conducted on 185 mothers who underwent cesarean sections in the Seville hospital between January 2015 and December 2016.
In order to establish the results, the authors interviewed the mothers about their breastfeeding patterns and levels of chronic pain in the first 24–72 hours after the cesarean section. They were then interviewed again four months later.
According to the researchers, 87% of the mothers breastfed their babies. Only 58% of the mothers responded that they had breastfed their babies for two months or more.
The results showed that 23% of mothers who breastfed their babies for two months or less experienced chronic pain around the surgical site for as much as four months after the operation.
This wasn’t the case in mothers who breastfed for a longer period of time.
In contrast, only 8% of the women who breastfed for two months or more reported chronic pain.
Breastfeeding for longer reduces the pain after a cesarean section
The results of the study showed that mothers who breastfeed their babies for at least two months after the operation are three times less likely to experience persistent pain.
“Your chest is an umbilical cord that was never cut”
According to the researcher Carmen Vargas: “these results suggest that breastfeeding for more than two months protects mothers again chronic pain after a cesarean section. The risk of chronic pain triples if breastfeeding is only maintained for two months or less.”
The team of experts also pointed out other valid reasons why mothers should breastfeed their children.
According to the data, women with a university degree were less likely to suffer from chronic pain than those with a lower level of education.
In addition, 54% of nursing mothers reported that they were suffering from anxiety. It should be noted that although this study wasn’t designed to prove casual relationships, the researchers claim that anxiety during breastfeeding may influence the risk of suffering from chronic pain.
Breastfeeding against endometrial cancer
Research conducted in Australia also confirms that breastfeeding promotes maternal health. Breastfeeding doesn’t only protect you from chronic pain, it also reduces the risk of endometrial cancer.
According to another study conducted at the Berghofer Medical Research institute in Brisbane Australia, breastfeeding for more than six months can reduce the risk of endometrial cancer.
Experts analyzed studies conducted in the USA, Canada, Europe, China and Austria. There are many factors that influence the risk of this type of cancer.
Some examples are: age, race, education, use of oral contraceptives, menopause, date of last pregnancy and body mass index.
The scientists also observed that women who had breastfed their children have greater protection against this type of cancer.
“The results aren’t only relevant to encourage women to breastfeed. They are also relevant to help society understand the long-term benefits of breastfeeding.”
According to the researchers, their studies don’t show that women who don’t breastfeed will develop this type of cancer.