Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Breastfeeding Does Not Create Sagging Breasts

Breastfeeding Does Not Create Sagging Breasts; Study Throws Out Old Wives' Tale
Myth Dispelled at American Society of Plastic Surgeons Annual Meeting

For Immediate Release: October 28, 2007

BALTIMORE – While the benefits of breastfeeding are unquestionable, many new mothers choose not to for fear of sagging breasts. However, breastfeeding alone has no impact on a woman’s breast shape, according to a first-of-its-kind study presented today at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2007 conference in Baltimore.

“Many women who come in for breast surgery tell us their breasts are sagging, drooping or are less full because they breastfed,” said Brian Rinker, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and study author. “Although the amount of sagging in the breasts appears to increase with each pregnancy, we’ve found that breastfeeding does not worsen the effect.”

The study examined 93 women who were pregnant one or more times prior to having cosmetic breast surgery. Fifty-eight percent of patients reported breastfeeding one or more of their children. The duration of breastfeeding ranged from 2 to 25 months, with an average of nine months. Fifty-five percent of respondents reported an adverse change in the shape of their breasts following pregnancy.

As the first study to examine what impacts breast shape in connection to pregnancy, plastic surgeons found that a history of breastfeeding, the number of children breastfed, the duration of each child’s breastfeeding, or the amount of weight gained during pregnancy were not significant predictors for losing breast shape. However, body mass index (BMI), the number of pregnancies, a larger pre-pregnancy bra size, smoking history, and age were significant risk factors for an increased degree of breast sagging.

Nearly 104,000 women had breast lifts in 2006, up 96 percent since 2000, according to the ASPS. In addition, more than 329,000 women had breast augmentation, making it the top surgical cosmetic procedure in 2006.

“Women may be reluctant to breastfeed because of this unfounded myth that doing so means the end of youthful breasts,” said Dr. Rinker. “Now, expectant mothers can relax knowing breastfeeding does not change the appearance of their breasts.”

Breast milk provides indisputable health benefits to infants. Research has shown breastfed infants have improved general health, growth and development as well as a lower risk of many acute and chronic illnesses than bottle-fed infants.


Joy  said...

I would asy that it may be so that breastfeeding may not cause sagging breasts, but it certainly makes them feel empty for a while after you stop feeding. I personally noticed that as well as many of my breastfeeding friends, it does go back to some semblance of normalicy after a while, but although it is a completely worthwhile after effect, it is nice for women who are thinking of breastfeeding to be aware of so they are not freaked when it happens to them.

Anonymous said...

For a while? Now THAT would be nice. Years after breastfeeding I'm still waiting for mine to return to some semblance of normalcy! But if I could go back in time, I would do it all over again! Breastfeeding my babies was the best thing I could have done for them and for me. That being said...

I breastfed four children, and two of them for four years each. (It was a twelve-year career!) In my first few weeks of milk production, they looked and felt great...D cups. (Thank you for the blissful few weeks of ultra milk production!) But they would loose mass quickly, and more so with each child. I went from a 24C cup to a 24AA-A. They look like empty sacks, just hanging out. Put my arms above my head, and they all but disappear, with shar pei skin. Forget about bending over. They are not rolling pins, but flat flasks of flesh! And if I lie on my side, the bottom one looks like something they'd put on your plate at IHOP.

So...ahem! Do breasts sag after breastfeeding?

Short answer is mmm-hmmm.