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Breastfeeding May Help You Get a Smaller Waistline (Best News of the Day!)A study again strengthens how breastfeeding benefits a mom's health.by Rachel Perez .
Breastfeeding is one of the most challenging aspects of being a new mom, but it has its perks. We all know that breast milk is liquid gold. It has all the essential nutrients and antibodies, which makes it the baby's defense against illness-causing viruses and bacteria. (Read about all the breastfeeding advantages here.)
Nursing benefits not only babies but moms, too! One of the immediate perks of breastfeeding for moms who had just given birth is it helps shrink the uterus back to its original size. So it isn't surprising that it may have a lasting effect on a woman's waistline.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Michigan State University looked at nearly 700 women who has taken part in the "Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Health" (POUCH) study. They followed-up on the moms seven to 15 years after giving birth to their babies.
The results, published in the Journal of Women's Health, showed that moms who breastfeed longer than six months had smaller waistline — about an inch and a half smaller — compared to waistlines of moms who stopped nursing at six months or even earlier. Moms who nursed longer also had a smaller hip circumference (a.k.a. balakang).ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Moms measured and reported their waistlines themselves. The researchers took into account the ages, race or ethnicity, pregnancy complications, socio-economic status, and healthy lifestyle factors.
The study also found out that moms who breastfed their babies longer had lower body mass index (BMI) and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The researchers suggested that nursing moms are more health conscious because they believe what they consume is passed on to their child through breast milk.
Pregnancy body changes influence the accumulation of abdominal fat, which may translate to cardiometabolic problems in later life. It means moms who have more love handles, if you will, is more likely to develop conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
"There are short-term benefits for the mother — weight after pregnancy is something women care about. And there are long-term benefits for the mother’s health," senior author, Janet M. Catov, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pittsburgh, told the New York Times. That's on top of the numerous benefits babies get from breast milk and breastfeeding.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
However — and all moms need to absorb this — the study doesn't guarantee that if you breastfed your baby for a full six months and longer, you can get a 24-inch waistline. There are other factors to weight management after childbirth, from diet to exercise.
While we all know we should not focus on the waist and hip circumference (though we all have to admit that it does get our attention, stat!), what is worth considering is it shows promise that breastfeeding can be an essential preventive measure when looking at moms' cardiovascular and metabolic long-term health.