Study finds breastfeeding reduces risk of diabetes for mums

April 1, 2010

( -- A study of more than 50,000 women has found breastfeeding may reduce the risks of mums developing diabetes later in life.

According to researchers from the University of Western Sydney's School of Medicine, women who have given birth, but haven't breastfed, have a 50 percent increased risk of compared to women who haven't given birth.

The research, published recently in the international Diabetes Care journal, analysed the questionnaire responses of 52,731 women selected at random from the Australian national universal health insurance database.

Lead author on the study, Dr Bette Liu from the UWS School of Medicine, says the study showed an association between childbearing and is affected by breastfeeding.

" to children does increase the risk of women developing diabetes later in life, but our study shows women can reduce the risk by breastfeeding their children," says Dr Liu.

"We found that even breastfeeding each child for three months reduces the risks of diabetes for the mother - back to the same as that for who have never given birth."

Dr Liu conducted the study with colleagues Professor Louisa Jorm, from UWS and the Sax Institute, and Dr Emily Banks, from the Australian National University.

In their analysis, the researchers took into account a woman's age as well as other factors including , smoking, level of physical activity, family history of diabetes and socio-economic status.

Dr Liu says the mechanism underlying the preventative role of breastfeeding remains unclear.

"It is possible breastfeeding and the hormonal changes it triggers may provide improved insulin sensitivity which lasts long after childbirth, but more research is needed to understand exactly what is happening," says Dr Liu.

"While we may not yet know how breastfeeding helps protect mothers from diabetes, it is now clear the long-term health benefits of are no longer confined to just the child."

Explore further: Australian study finds epidural may put babies off the breast

More information: More details on study can be found here:

Related Stories

Australian study finds epidural may put babies off the breast

December 11, 2006

Epidurals given during labour and birth are associated with decreased rates of breastfeeding, both in the short and long term. A large study of Australian women, published today in the open access journal International Breastfeeding ...

Study to explore why women stop breastfeeding

December 6, 2007

Eighty to 90 per cent of new mothers start breastfeeding when their baby is first born because they are aware of the enormous benefits of breastmilk, however 25 per cent of new mothers will have stopped breastfeeding by the ...

Can breastfeeding reduce multiple sclerosis relapses?

February 19, 2009

Women who have multiple sclerosis may reduce their risk of relapses after pregnancy if they breastfeed their babies, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.