Irregular bowel movements, shoulder pain, gas buildup in the abdomen – these are just a few of the discomforts that women might experience after a caesarean section.
But according to a recent study, researchers from Our Lady Valme hospital found that breastfeeding could be an effective way to reduce a woman’s risk of experiencing pain after a C-section. 185 mothers who underwent C-sections between January 2015 and December 2016 were interviewed about their breastfeeding habits and the degree of pain they experienced around the incision 24 and 72 hours after the initial procedure. The women were then interviewed once more four months later.
Results of the study indicate that 23% of mothers who breastfed for less than two months after their C-section continued to experience chronic pain at the site of the incision nearly four months later. Even after accounting for a number of potential other factors, such as a mother’s age, the results of the study remained the same – the rate of chronic pain was higher among mothers who breast-fed for a shorter duration of time.
Researchers also found that more than half of the mothers interviewed reported experiencing anxiety, which may affect chronic pain and increase a woman’s risk of suffering discomfort around the incision. At this time, it is still unknown how exactly anxiety and breastfeeding influences the pain following a C-section but researchers are continuing to gather new data due to these interesting early results.
The study’s co-author, Dr. Carmen Alicia Vargas Berenjeno of the Hospital Universitario Nuestra Señora de Valme in Spain and her colleagues reported their results at the Euroanaesthesia Congress 2017, which was hosted in Geneva, Switzerland.
The authors of the study hope that these early findings will help ease some troubles for new moms.
“Our study provides another good reason to encourage women to breastfeed. It’s possible that anxiety during breast-feeding could influence the likelihood of pain at the surgical site 4 months after the operation.”