Breastfeeding and obesity in PCOS

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common condition affecting up to 18% of reproductive-aged women, has complications including reproductive, metabolic and psychological dysfunction. There is a strong potentially bidirectional association of obesity with PCOS. Women with PCOS both have a higher risk of obesity and greater longitudinal weight gain and obesity increases the prevalence and severity of the reproductive, metabolic and psychological features of PCOS. In limited observational studies, PCOS is proposed as a potential factor contributing to lower breastfeeding initiation and duration. Areas covered: A narrative review using PubMed was performed covering the areas of the association of obesity and PCOS with breastfeeding success and interventions for improving breastfeeding success. Obesity impacts on breastfeeding success related to factors including impaired lactogenesis, mechanical difficulties, psychological considerations and an increased likelihood of having a caesarean section. The common coexistence of obesity in PCOS is the likely key contributor to the breastfeeding problems observed in PCOS, given the contribution of obesity to reduced breastfeeding initiation and duration. Expert review: Facilitating breastfeeding is crucial for optimising maternal and infant health benefits, highlighting the importance of lactation support for overweight and obese women with or without PCOS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-454
Number of pages6
JournalExpert Review of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • hyperandrogenism
  • insulin resistance
  • lactation
  • obesity
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • weight gain

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