Lactation Lowers Risk of T2DM After Gestational Diabetes

Compared to no lactation, long-term lactation of more than 1 to 3 months not linked to T2DM risk
Compared to no lactation, long-term lactation of more than 1 to 3 months not linked to T2DM risk

HealthDay News — For women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), lactation is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), although there is no benefit for long-term lactation, according to a review and meta-analysis published online March 25 in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation.

Lijun Feng, from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the effect of lactation on the development of T2DM in women with prior GDM. The meta-analysis included 13 cohort studies. 

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The researchers found that lactation was significantly associated with a lower risk of T2DM compared with no lactation (relative risk, 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.48 to 0.90; P<0.001). This correlation was prominent in studies conducted in the United States (relative risk, 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.43 to 0.99), regardless of study design, smaller sample size, follow-up duration greater than one year, and use of adjusted data. By pooling data from three studies, long-term lactation (more than 1 to 3 months postpartum) was not associated with T2DM risk compared with no lactation (relative risk, 0.69; 95% confidence interval, 0.41 to 1.17).

"This meta-analysis demonstrated that lactation was associated with a lower risk of T2DM in women with prior GDM," the authors write. "Further, no significant relationship between long-term lactation and T2DM risk was detected."

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