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Current Studies on Two Separate Topics: Breastfeeding Postpartum Length of Hospital Stay

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In this column, the author examines recent research on two separate topics: 1) breastfeeding; 2) postpartum length of hospital stay. Recent studies suggest long-term effects of breastfeeding that benefit both mother and infant. Benefits include a reduced risk of breast cancer in breastfeeding mothers and a reduced level of total and LDH cholesterol in adults who were breastfed as infants. Infants of mothers with maternal asthma had lower rates of asthma if the mother breastfed. In a study of women in the United States who planned to breastfeed, those mothers who breastfed exclusively and planned to breastfeed more than three months were more likely to achieve their goals than mothers who planned to combine breast and human-milk substitute feeds and to breastfeed less than three months.

In a Canadian study, shortened postpartum stays led to increased re-admission to hospital for mothers with cesarean births. In contrast, in a Massachusetts study, shortened postpartum stays did not lead to an increase in infant visits for urgent care. However, the Massachusetts study did not reflect a decrease in maternity-related costs associated with shortened length of postpartum stay.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: MARY LOU MOORE is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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