While it's well documented that breastfeeding is beneficial and healthy for babies, the evidence is mounting that it is healthy for moms as well. Breastfeeding may lower the risk of breast cancer and Type 2 diabetes, according to two new studies. Previous research has found that the maternal health benefits of breastfeeding include lower risk for ovarian cancers and rheumatoid arthritis.
Breastfeeding could lower your risk of developing breast cancer.
The first study, published in the October edition of Annals of Oncology, was actually a meta-analysis that examined nearly 37,000 cases of breast cancer among various women and across 27 different studies. The findings suggest that there is a protective effect of breastfeeding against hormone receptive negative tumors, a type of cancer typically seen in young women. Specifically, the analysis found that breastfeeding reduces this aggressive cancer by 20 percent.
"The breast gland is immature and unable to do its job — which is to make milk — until it goes through the bat mitzvah of a full-term pregnancy," Dr. Weiss, senior author of the study, told The New York Times. "Breast-feeding forces the breasts to finally grow up and get a job, and make milk, and show up for work every day and every night, and stop fooling around."
Breastfeeding could lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Another study, published in the November edition of Annals of Internal Medicine, examined 1035 women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Women in this group cut their risk of getting Type 2 diabetes by almost 60 percent after breastfeeding for more than 10 months. The study concluded that lactation improves glucose metabolism, which may protect against Type 2 diabetes.
"The main policy implication is that we need to focus our breast-feeding promotion efforts to high-risk women, those who are obese or have a pregnancy with gestational diabetes," study author Erica Gunderson, a senior research scientist with Kaiser, told Newsmax.
(H/T: New York Times)
Cover image via Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com