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Breastfeeding And Diabetes: Are You Aware Of The Connection?

Breastfeeding is a joyous experience for new mothers. Apart from providing all the necessary nutrition for your little one, it also gives you a lot of personal benefits like keeping you healthy by burning around 500 calories each time, releasing good hormones, reducing the risk of cancer and even Type-2 diabetes. Read on to know how.

Gestational diabetes is becoming increasingly common - Even women who’ve never had high blood sugar levels in their lifetime run a risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Unmanaged gestational diabetes can lead to type-2 diabetes after pregnancy. In type-2 diabetes, your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or it resists insulin which means your blood sugar levels peak and can lead to many problems like heart diseases, kidney related diseases, and even amputation in extreme cases.

A study that was done on breastfeeding moms showed that breastfeeding changed the way their bodies reacted to insulin - It improved the insulin sensitivity which meant that glucose was metabolized quicker.

This study took a look at 1000 moms with varying ethnic backgrounds and monitored their sugar levels for as long as 2 years after pregnancy and determined that women who exclusively breastfed were half as likely to see a spike in their blood glucose levels and eventually develop type-2 diabetes.

A lot of breastfeeding moms who already had diabetes (by the way, it’s totally safe to breastfeed even when you have diabetes) found that they required less amount of insulin to keep their blood sugar levels in check. So this is just another instance of just how closely related breastfeeding and diabetes are.

The risk of diabetes also depends on how long the moms breastfeed. Moms who breastfeed for a period of 2 months were 50% less likely to get diabetes and moms who breastfeed for around 5 months could lead a safe march away from the diabetes pit. This could also be related to the amount of weight breastfeeding moms lose during this period since obesity is a major diabetes-causing agent.

But of course every woman is unique and there may be underlying conditions that would lead to diabetes even though they breastfeed religiously. If you are someone who developed gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, it’s important to understand that with balanced diet and exercise it can be easily managed and you can have a happy and healthy pregnancy and continue to stay healthy after childbirth too. Consult with your doctor and don’t hesitate to get all the help that is required from your loved ones to get you through your pregnancy easily.  

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