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Breastfeeding Protects Against Chronic Pain After Caesarean Section

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Breastfeeding Protects Against Chronic Pain After Caesarean SectionBreastfeeding for a minimum 2 months or more could protect mothers from chronic pain in the surgical site after caesarean section, reveals a study.

C-sections are common now; nearly 1 in 4 births in the USA, UK and Canada are delivered via caesarean section. One in five mothers who had C-section has experienced pain that lasts for more than three months. Breast milk is the most primary and required nutrition for newborns and it is widely accepted. Exclusive breastfeeding up to six months is recommended by WHO, US Department of Health and Human Services. However until this time, little facts have been understood regarding the impact of breastfeeding on chronic pain experienced by mothers after C-section.

Dr Carmen Alicia Vargas Berenjeno and colleagues from the Hospital Universitario Nuestra Señora de Valme in Sevilla, Spain conducted the study among 185 mothers who had a C-section during the period of January 2015 and December 2016. Participants were interviewed regarding their breastfeeding patterns and the pain at the surgical area in the initial 24 and 72 hours following C-section, and repeated after 4 months. The other variables on chronic pain like surgical technique, level of pain in the initial 24 to 72 hours, occupation and maternal education, and nervousness during breastfeeding were also observed by the researchers.

Effects of Breastfeeding

Nearly every mother (87%) who participated in the study had breastfed, with more than half (58%) continuing breastfeeding for two months or even longer. Reports demonstrated that nearly 1 in 4 (23%) of the participants who breastfed for 2 months or lesser had chronic pain in the surgical area 4 months after the operation in comparison to only 8% of mothers who breastfed for 2 months or longer. These variations were remarkable even after altering the participant's age. Additional analysis revealed that participants who were less educated were more likely to have chronic pain when compared to those with a university education. More than half (54%) of participants were anxious when they breastfed.

The researchers conclude that, “these first round results propose that breastfeeding for more than 2 months protects against persistent post-caesarean pain. The risk of chronic pain increased three-fold if breastfeeding is only continued for 2 months or less. The study provides an additional good reason to promote women to breastfeed. There is a chance that anxiety during breastfeeding might influence the possibility of pain at the surgical site 4 months post-operation.”

The researchers are now analyzing further data from women interviewed between November 2016 to January 2017, which, when added to data from all the other women, reveals that anxiety is related with persistent post Caesarean pain in a statistically remarkable way.