Parity, Breastfeeding, and the Subsequent Risk of Maternal Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Emily Banks, PHD2,3
  1. 1School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia;
  2. 2The Sax Institute, Sydney, Australia;
  3. 3National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
  1. Corresponding author: Bette Liu, bette.liu{at}uws.edu.au.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To examine the effect of childbearing and maternal breastfeeding on a woman's subsequent risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Using information on parity, breastfeeding, and diabetes collected from 52,731 women recruited into a cohort study, we estimated the risk of type 2 diabetes using multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS A total of 3,160 (6.0%) women were classified as having type 2 diabetes. Overall, nulliparous and parous women had a similar risk of diabetes. Among parous women, there was a 14% (95% CI 10–18%, P < 0.001) reduced likelihood of diabetes per year of breastfeeding. Compared to nulliparous women, parous women who did not breastfeed had a greater risk of diabetes (odds ratio 1.48, 95% CI 1.26–1.73, P < 0.001), whereas for women breastfeeding, the risk was not significantly increased.

CONCLUSIONS Compared with nulliparous women, childbearing women who do not breastfeed have about a 50% increased risk of type 2 diabetes in later life. Breastfeeding substantially reduces this excess risk.

Footnotes

  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

  • Received February 21, 2010.
  • Accepted March 9, 2010.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ for details.

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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 33 no. 6 1239-1241
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