Lose weight after pregnancy: breastfeeding for longer can help

Lose weight after pregnancy: breastfeeding for longer can help

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Good for the figure: Those who breastfeed longer stay slim more often

If mothers breastfeed their children for more than six months, they apparently can control their weight more easily and have a slimmer waist years after birth. This suggests the results of a long-term study by the University of Pittsburgh, in which almost 700 mothers were involved. Extensive data on women's health and breastfeeding practices were collected for the study. In addition, the scientists determined the weight, height and waist size of the participants 7 to 15 years after the delivery.

Fat in the abdomen is particularly harmful because it collects on the internal organs and is very metabolically active. The waist circumference reflects the condition of the abdominal organs and enables an assessment of the visceral (in the body) fat tissue. With a waist circumference of more than 88 cm one speaks of visceral obesity.

Mothers with visceral obesity in the decade after birth had breastfed an average of 3.9 months. If the waist circumference was less than 88 cm, the women had provided their child with breast milk for an average of 6.4 months. Subjects with a breastfeeding period of more than six months had a particularly slim waist. The waist circumference was on average 3.5 cm smaller than that of mothers with a shorter breastfeeding period.

The observational study was supplemented by so-called propensity score analyzes, in which women with similar characteristics were compared. In this way, the possibility of a bias in the results due to an overall healthier lifestyle of women with long breastfeeding was minimized. Further studies are to follow, in which the lifelong breastfeeding period across multiple pregnancies is taken into account.

Pregnancy is a major change for the woman's body. After birth, it can be difficult to regain the original weight. If you breastfeed your child fully, you will need around 500 more calories per day to produce milk. Presumably, the higher calorie requirement over several months can facilitate healthy weight loss, the scientists write in the "Journal of Women's Health". Heike Kreutz, respectively

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