Short term effect of breastfeeding on postpartum maternal anthropometry in Owerri, Nigeria
Background: Pregnancy related weight gain and retention of gained weight during the postpartum period has remained a challenge to African women. Studies have revealed that breastfeeding has various benefits on both mother and child, however studies on the ability to cause reduction in postpartum maternal weight reported conflicting results.
Aim: This prospective study aims to investigate the effect of different infant breastfeeding methods on postpartum weight loss on Nigeria women.
Subjects and Methods: A total of 72 pregnant women in labor were recruited based on set criteria and anthropometric measurements were taken 24 hours after delivery then repeated 6 weeks after. Mothers were grouped under the following: Exclusively breastfed group (EBF complementary breastfeeding (CBF) and no breastfeeding group (NBF). Data entry and analysis was done using SPSS viewer (13), with P value ≤0.05 considered as significant.
Results: A significant difference (p = 0.029) in average postpartum weight loss was observed in the EBF group, CBF group and the NBF group (6.86kg, 5.22kg and 3.00kg respectively). Also average loss in BMI (2.63kg/m2, 2.06kg/m2and 1.13kg/m2 respectively) was significant (p = 0.018) along with the average Loss in Mid-Thigh Circumference (1.09cm, 0.97cm and 0.69cm respectively) with p=0.025.
Conclusion: Reduction in maternal postpartum weight is a benefit of breastfeeding even on short term basis especially if practiced exclusively. This information can be pushed forward as a motivating factor for breastfeeding and post-partum weight reduction.
Key Words: Maternal anthropometry, Breastfeeding, Lactation, weight loss, Nigeria.