Body image is how you think, feel about and picture your body. Many women are not happy with the way they look and this can lead to physical or emotional health problems.

A recent complementary medicine research study from the Children’s Nutrition Research Centre, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Queensland has revealed that obese women stop breast-feeding their babies within six-months. The research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that around 50% of women with pre-pregnant BMI >30kg/m² ceased breastfeeding their newborns within six months, compared to 18% of women who were of healthy weight or overweight.

Lead researcher, Dr Newby commented, “Mums want to do the best thing for their babies and we need to support them to reach their breastfeeding goals” she says.

Breastfeeding for longer than six-months has been reported to have the following benefits:

  • Lower respiratory tract infections
  • Reduced incidence of nonspecific gastrointestinal tract infections
  • Reduced risk of SIDS
  • Lower risk of developing celiac disease
  • Reduction in the risk of childhood inflammatory bowel disease
  • Reduction in the incidence of type 1 diabetes mellitus

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioners and healthcare professionals should consider supporting mothers through referral services such as counselling. Furthermore, they should offer pre-conception food and nutrition advice and lifestyle modification advice to would-be-mothers who exceed the BMI of 30kg/m².