I have been hearing lately many healthy young mothers complaining about breastfeeding and how they don’t have time for it or they don’t see it as a ‘must’. However, for women with gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM breastfeeding cuts risk of progressing diabetes.
- 250,000 pregnant women in America get GDM each year
- GDM refers to an elevated blood glucose during pregnancy
- Women with GDM are very likely to progress to type 2 diabetes within two years
GDM usually progresses rapidly to type 2 diabetes, but according to research, women who breastfeed for at least two months after giving birth are about two times less likely to develop the disease.
The research lead by Dr. Erica Gunderson at Kaiser Permanente was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and revealed that almost 12 percent of the women participating in the study have developed type 2 diabetes within two years after giving birth. The ones who didn’t breastfeed their children at all, relying exclusively on formula were twice as likely to get the disease.
Gestational diabetes mellitus represents a high level of blood glucose during pregnancy and it happens to a 5 to 9 percent of the pregnant women in the U.S. which is the equivalent of approximately 250,000 females every year. After pregnancy they are highly predisposed to develop type 2 diabetes in only a few years.
The study participants were a number of over 1,000 women diagnosed with gestational diabetes from 2008 to 2011. About 75 percent of them were Asian, Hispanic or African-American. The variables taken into consideration for the study were prenatal metabolism, race and ethnicity, lifestyle and gestational weight gain.
Doctors insist that breastfeeding is important both for the infant as well as for the mother, especially if she has GDM and risks to develop type 2 diabetes. It is advised that mothers should avoid formula feeding and rely exclusively on breastfeeding for at least six months after giving birth. After six months they can also introduce some other complementary food, but they should still breastfeed for as long as possible.
In conclusion, breastfeeding brings benefits to the infant and to the mother, decreasing her risk of developing diabetes. Therefore, women should give this some serious thinking before going to the store for baby formula, because after all, breastfeeding is good for you and for your baby.
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