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Promoting Breastfeeding Among Obese Women and Women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Trout K, et al. Current Diabetes Reports. 2010 Nov. 5 (E-published ahead of print)

Breastfeeding has many health benefits for women and their babies, but particularly if the woman is obese and/or had a pregnancy affected with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Women who have had GDM are at high risk for developing metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, and their offspring are at greater risk for these metabolic disorders both in childhood and later in adulthood. There is considerable evidence that breastfeeding may attenuate these risks. This article summarizes the most recent evidence on what is known about how breastfeeding can mitigate the adverse metabolic effects of obesity and GDM on both mother and child, and describes best practices that can support and sustain breastfeeding, particularly in racial/ethnic communities at risk. The authors recommend that at each prenatal encounter and in the immediate postpartum period, health care providers aiming to promote breastfeeding among obese women and women with GDM should emphasize the health benefits of breastfeeding. At the same time, they should work with the patient to identify family or community sources of support, connect the patient to support and educational programs as available, and convey their own confidence in the new mother’s ability to breastfeed her infant.

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