Breastfeeding after C-Section Reduces Chronic Pain, Research Says

Photography: Bloom and Blossom Studio

By Hannah Schenker

A new study proves once again just how amazing breastfeeding is for mothers, as well as their babies. Chronic Post-Cesarean Pain (CPCP) is experienced by around 18% of mothers. However, researchers in Spain found that women who breastfed for at least two months following a cesarean section, were three times less likely to experience chronic pain.

The results of the study were presented by co-author Dr. Carmen Alicia Vargas Berenjeno, of the Hospital Universitario Nuestra Señora de Valme in Spain, and her colleagues at the Euroanaesthesia Congress 2017, held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The researchers studied 185 mothers who had a C-section between January 2015 and December 2016. In the 24 hours following their C-section, the mothers were interviewed about the level of pain experienced at the site of incision, as well as their incidence of breastfeeding and other variables such as presence of anxiety while breastfeeding. They followed up with another interview after 72 hours, and again at four months post-operation.

Of the women studied, 87% went on to breastfeed, with 58.4% of these mothers maintaining breastfeeding for more than 2 months. Around 11% of the mothers reported CPCP, but there were clear differences in the breastfeeding mothers.

Just 8.3% of mothers who breastfed for more than 2 months reported chronic pain, compared with 22.8% of mothers (about 1 in 4 women) who breastfed for less than 2 months. 

This suggests that breastfeeding for more than 2 months will have a protective influence on mothers who experience C-section surgery. The risk of chronic pain increases threefold if a mother breastfeeds for 2 months or less.

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