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Breastfeeding reduces c-section pain

Wednesday 7th June 2017
Breastfeeding after a c-section can help to reduce pain levels, according to a new study. ImageL jgaunion via iStock
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    Women who are able to breastfeed their babies following a caesarean section may see their pain levels reduce markedly, new research suggests.
     
    This is the claim of a study carried out by doctors in Spain, who presented their findings at the Euroanaesthesia Congress 2017.
     
    Researchers asked 185 mothers within 24 hours of undergoing a c-section how their pain levels were and whether they were planning to breastfeed. They were then asked the same question 72 hours after the birth, before their progress was assessed four months later.
     
    A total of 11.4 per cent of new mothers said they were in chronic pain after their caesarean, with 87 per cent opting to breastfeed and over half (58 per cent) doing so for at least the first two months of their baby's life.
     
    It was found that women were more likely to report experiencing chronic pain if they breastfed for a shorter duration of time, therefore suggesting that breastfeeding for the first few months of an infant's life can not only have benefits for the baby's health, but can also assist in reducing pain levels for new mothers.
     
    Overall, the study results showed that women who breastfed for two months or more were three times less likely to report persistent chronic pain than their counterparts who did so for a shorter period of time.
     
    Commenting on the research, Jacque Gerrard, director for England at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), called the findings "interesting", but emphasised that further investigation would be required before it could be ruled for sure that this link between breastfeeding and c-section pain reduction exists.
     
    "However, there is an overwhelming body of evidence around the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby," she stated.
     
    "The RCM supports exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life as the most appropriate method of infant feeding."
     
    With all of this in mind, nurses and midwives need to make sure they are supporting women to breastfeed following both natural births and c-sections, as it could have significant benefits for theirs and their baby's health.
     
    However, it's also vital that those who are unable to breastfeed receive alternative support in reducing their pain levels.
     
    Written by James Puckle
     
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