Type 2 Diabetes – Breastfeeding Linked With Better Blood Sugar Control After Pregnancy

Researchers at the University of North Carolina in the United States linked breastfeeding with blood sugar control in eighty-two women recovering from Gestational or pregnancy-related diabetes. Their work was reported on in February of 2018 in the American Journal of Perinatology. It was found women who stopped breastfeeding early had the following…

  • elevated fasting blood sugar readings,
  • high HbA1c levels, and
  • higher weight-for-height measurements.

Normal fasting blood sugar levels should be…

  • less than 100 mg/dL or 5.6 mmol/L when one wakes in the morning.
  • before meals, it should range between 70 and 99 mg/dL or 3.9 and 5.5 mmol/L
  • 2 hours after meals blood sugar levels should be less than 140 mg/dL or 7.8 mmol/L.


  • HbA1c levels should fall below 7 percent.
  • height-for-weight (BMI) should not be over 25.

Getting back to normal after having Gestational diabetes is important to avoid complications. Women with a history of being diagnosed with diabetes during their pregnancy are at risk for developing…

  • Type 2 diabetes,
  • the Metabolic syndrome, and
  • heart and blood vessel disease.

After giving birth women who developed Gestational diabetes have a 50 percent chance of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the following 5 years. Besides breastfeeding the new mother needs to…

  • reach and maintain a normal lean weight,
  • eat a healthy diet, and
  • take part in enough physical activity.

The Metabolic syndrome consists of…

  • high blood pressure,
  • high blood sugar,
  • being overweight or obese, and
  • having abnormal cholesterol and blood fat levels.

Women with a waistline measurement over 35 inches are at risk: it can lead to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Preventing the Metabolic syndrome involves making the same healthy lifestyle changes as for Type 2 diabetes. The women are also advised to avoid smoking.

Preventing heart and blood vessel disease takes the same measures as Type 2 diabetes and the Metabolic syndrome. Preventing developing diabetes during pregnancy involves…

  • having a healthy lean weight before conception, and
  • gaining only the amount of weight during pregnancy as recommended by their doctor or midwife.
  • exercising during pregnancy: this is high recommended.

At 24 to 26 weeks into the pregnancy, pregnant mothers are tested for Gestational diabetes. The test consists of having a sugary drink followed by blood being drawn to learn how well the body is handling sugar. If the diagnosis is made then lifestyle changes, insulin or oral medication may be prescribed.

Various studies have attempted to learn how prevalent Gestational diabetes is in the world. Estimates range from 1 to 14 percent of pregnancies. The number of cases appears to be increasing with the obesity epidemic.