A preliminary study of breast-feeding and maternal symptomatology

Ann Behav Med. Winter 2000;22(1):71-9. doi: 10.1007/BF02895170.


The association between breast-feeding status and maternal health is examined. A survey questionnaire was presented via the World Wide Web. Self-reports of 168 breast-feeding and 65 weaned mothers between 4 and 208 weeks postpartum were compared for physician visits, symptomatology, and Perceived Stress Scale scores in the last month. Breast-feeding was associated with fewer physician visits and symptoms and less perceived stress. Moreover, the longer a woman breast-fed before she weaned, the fewer the symptoms and less stress she reported. Breast-feeding is associated with better maternal health both during the breast-feeding period and after weaning. Further research on the effects on maternal health of breast-feeding is indicated. Future prospective longitudinal investigations should address the possible inhibition of lactation by stress and physiological mechanisms that may link breast-feeding and weaning with maternal health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Australia
  • Breast Feeding* / psychology
  • Breast Feeding* / statistics & numerical data
  • Canada
  • Central America
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Europe
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Internet
  • Maternal Welfare*
  • New Zealand
  • Population Surveillance*
  • South Africa
  • South America
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • United States
  • Weaning