New Study Examines the Cost of Maternal Disease Associated With Suboptimal Breastfeeding

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By: Kate Mitchell, Manager of the MHTF Knowledge Management System, Women and Health Initiative

The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology recently published a paper, Cost Analysis of Maternal Disease Associated With Suboptimal Breastfeeding, that takes a closer look at the impact of suboptimal breastfeeding levels in the United States on maternal disease and the associated costs.

According to the authors:

If observed associations between breastfeeding duration and maternal health are causal, we estimate that current breastfeeding rates result in 4,981 excess cases of breast cancer, 53,847 cases of hypertension, and 13,946 cases of myocardial infarction compared with a cohort of 1.88 million U.S. women who optimally breastfed.

They also found:

Using a 3% discount rate, suboptimal breastfeeding incurs a total of $17.4 billion in cost to society resulting from premature death (95% confidence interval [CI] $4.38–24.68 billion), $733.7 million in direct costs (95% CI $612.9–859.7 million), and $126.1 million indirect morbidity costs (95% CI $99.00–153.22 million).

Access the paper abstract here.