These major studies provide robust evidence on the links between breastfeeding and a range of maternal health outcomes.
Association of Maternal Lactation with Diabetes and Hypertension
Researchers studying the long-term benefits of breastfeeding (at least 12 months) found a 30% risk reduction for diabetes and a 13% risk reduction of hypertension for mothers studied. Based on these findings, the authors call for increased education on the benefits of breastfeeding for pregnant women in the prenatal and antenatal periods, including the recommendation of breastfeeding as a preventative measure for diabetes and hypertension, in addition to weight loss, exercise and smoking cessation.
Rameez RM, Sadana D, Kaur S, et al. Association of Maternal Lactation With Diabetes and Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(10):e1913401. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.13401
The fraction of cancer attributable to modifiable risk factors in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom in 2015
This study explored the fraction of cancer cases attributable to modifiable risk factors in the UK, finding that nearly four in ten (37.7%) cancer cases in 2015 in the UK were attributable to known risk factors. Researchers identified not breastfeeding as one such risk factor; amongst women, not breastfeeding was attributed to 2,582 cancer cases in 2015.
Brown, K, et al, (2018). The fraction of cancer attributable to modifiable risk factors in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom in 2015, British Journal of Cancer, doi:10.1038/s41416-018-0029-6.
The Lancet breastfeeding series
This powerful series presents resounding evidence that breastfeeding protects health, saves lives and cuts costs in every country worldwide. It finds that women are not getting the support they need to breastfeed, and that breastfeeding success is the collective responsibility of society. It demonstrates that the Baby Friendly Initiative is highly effective in improving breastfeeding practices, and that increasing breastfeeding worldwide could prevent over 800,000 child deaths every year.
- Suboptimal breastfeeding in the United States: Maternal and pediatric health outcomes and costs
- Special issue on the impact of breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding and maternal health outcomes
Chowdhury, R. et al (2015). Breastfeeding and maternal health outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Paediatrica, Special Issue: Impact of Breastfeeding on Maternal and Child Health. Volume 104, Issue Supplement S467, pages 96-113.
Related studies and further reading
The Lancet: Increasing breastfeeding worldwide could prevent over 800,000 child deaths every year