Objective: To study the effects of caesarean section on breastfeeding.
Methods: Six hundred and two [301 cases was caesarean section (caesarean section group) and 301 cases was vaginal delivery (vaginal delivery group)] nulliparas were interviewed face-to-face at antepartum and postpartum in an indication-matched prospective study.
Results: There was a significantly lower postpartum prolactin (PRL) level in the caesarean section group (8.48 nmol/L, 95% CI: 7.80 - 9.21 nmol/L) compared with vaginal delivery group (9.61 nmol/L, 95% CI: 8.99 - 10.26 nmol/L) during 6 - 24 hours in the daytime after delivery. The median time of breastfeeding initiation was 12 hours and 2 hours after birth for caesarean section and vaginal delivery groups respectively. Caesarean section was an important hazard for a shorter duration of breastfeeding (RR = 1.21; 95% CI: 1.10 - 1.33) within one year after childbirth.
Conclusions: Caesarean section is associated with significantly lower postpartum PRL, which is in line with the longer breastfeeding initiation and lower rate of successful breastfeeding. Necessary measures including promoting the secretion of postpartum PRL such as early contact, early sucking and analgesic method should be taken to improve the successful breastfeeding rate.