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Clinical study supports benefit of breastfeeding support for obese women
Date:4/25/2010

ention groups, Chapman and Morel studied 154 women recruited during pregnancy. All of the women involved in the study were overweight or obese (body mass index > 27 kg/m2) and hoping to successfully breastfeed. In general, the study's subjects were predominantly Puerto Rican, low-income, and had less than a high-school education. Whereas all of the participants received standard information concerning the benefits of breastfeeding, 76 of them were randomly chosen to also receive intensive, hands-on breastfeeding support from specially trained peer counselors. For instance, women in the "intervention" group were visited three times in their homes during late pregnancy and 11 more times in the first few months after birth. During these visits, the peer counselors offered helpful advice to offset immediate problems and were able to provide breast pumps to women needing them. The researchers then documented whether there were benefits of the specialized peer counseling on breastfeeding success, infant health and in a subset of the women breastfeeding techniques.

As they had hoped, Chapman and her colleagues found that peer counseling substantially improved breastfeeding success. Whereas 16% and 46% of the women in the "control" group had stopped breastfeeding by 2 and 8 weeks postpartum, respectively, only 7% and 33% of the women in the "intervention" group had stopped. They also documented important effects of personalized breastfeeding support on infant nursing behaviors. And to add even more bang for the buck, babies of mothers who received the extra counseling were 3.5 times less likely to be hospitalized during their first 3 months of life. This was mostly due to lower rates of respiratory infections and fever.

Chapman concluded "With help, obese women can be very successful at breastfeeding. And not surprisingly, the more intensive the support, the more successful they can be." This should be reassuring to both women and their care providers w
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Contact: Suzanne Price
media@faseb.org
714-765-2012
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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