Implants slash breastfeeding rates

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 05 April 2015 | 23.08

Choices ... women who have breast enlargement surgery are less likely to breastfeed. Picture: Supplied Source: ThinkStock

ONE in five women who have a breast enlargement don't breastfeed and research suggests the mothers fear it will compromise their investment in the surgery.

Researchers at the University of Sydney and the Kolling Institute tracked 378,389 women who gave birth in NSW between 2006 and 2011.

They found while nine in ten women who had not had a breast augmentation were breastfeeding when they were discharged from hospital, only eight in ten women who had a breast enlargement were.

Experts advocate breastfeeding babies because it protects against diarrhoea, respiratory tract infection, asthma, obesity and other health conditions.

"These findings underscore the importance of identifying, supporting and encouraging all women who are vulnerable to a lower likelihood of breast feeding," the researchers say in the study published in the Medical Journal Australia.

Investment ... woman holding silicone implants used in breast augmentation. Picture: Supplied Source: ThinkStock

Of the 378,389 women in the study, 892 had breast surgery that had changed the size, shape and texture of healthy breasts.

The study excluded women who had reconstructive breast surgery following a mastectomy and those who had cosmetic surgery overseas.

Breast augmentation increased by 150 per cent in Australia between 2001 and 2011 and more than 8,000 women a year are undergoing the procedure.

The study found 87 per cent of the women who had one child before their breast enlargement breast fed that child but only 72 per cent breastfed children born after the surgery.

Researchers say this is good evidence that it is not lack of breast milk producing tissue that is the reason women who have breast enlargement don't breastfeed.

They speculate that some women don't breastfeed because they fear transmitting silicone or other breast implant materials into breast milk.

Worries ... women who have had breast implants may fear transmitting silicone in their breast milk, the study says. Picture: Thinkstock Source: News Corp Australia

"They may fear, or have been told by their surgeon, that breastfeeding could undo a satisfactory augmentation result," the study says.

Breast surgery in Australia costs around $10,000, it costs about $4,000 in Thailand and cut price operators are charging about $8,000 on the Gold Coast.

Another explanation could be that ducts and glands in the breast may be damaged during surgery or by pressure from the implants on the breast tissue, the paper says.

Complications of the surgery, infection or pain could be other explanations.

The researchers say women about to undergo breast augmentation should be given the information that one in five women who have the surgery don't breastfeed as part of informed decision making as the contemplate the surgery.

The study found 80 per cent of the women who had a breast augmentation were married or in a de factor relationship.

More than 54 per cent of the mothers who had a breast augmentation were from the advantaged or most advantaged socio-economic groups.

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