Researchers at the University of Kentucky have dispelled the myth that breastfeeding makes breasts sag, for a new study has found that nursing a baby does not adversely affect breast shape.
The study conducted by Dr. Brian Rinker, University of Kentucky plastic surgeon and his colleagues interviewed 132 women who had come for a breast lift or augmentation between 1998 and 2006 at various clinics.
On an average, the women were 39 years old, of which 93 percent had at least one pregnancy, and most of the mothers, 58 percent, had breastfed at least one child.
Additionally, the research team evaluated the patients' medical history, body mass index, pre-pregnancy bra cup size, and smoking status.
"A lot of times, if a woman comes in for a breast lift or a breast augmentation, she'll say 'I want to fix what breastfeeding did to my breasts'," Rinker said.
The analysis of the study showed no difference in the degree of breast ptosis (TOE-sis, the medical term for sagging of the breast, for those women who breastfed and those who didn't.
However, researchers found that several other factors did affect breast sagging, which included age, the number of pregnancies, and whether the patient smoked or not.
"Smoking breaks down a protein in the skin called elastin, which gives youthful skin its elastic appearance and supports the breast... so it would make sense that it would have an adverse effect on the breasts," Rinker said.