Lead author Dr. Brian Rinker, a plastic surgeon in Lexington, Ky., said a growing number of women turn to plastic surgeons to counteract the effects of pregnancy on their bodies, with the common post-partum complaint of sagging breasts -- also known as breast ptosis -- which many believe to be linked to breastfeeding.
However, the study found other factors -- including older age, higher body mass index and a history of smoking -- are responsible for the breast sagging experienced by some women after pregnancy.
"It is widely assumed that breastfeeding will adversely affect the appearance of the breasts, and this has been a major reason cited by women who choose not to breastfeed," Rinker said in a statement. "However, there has been very little objective data to support or deny that this is, in fact, the case. With this study, we hope to shed some light on the subject and correct any misconceptions."
The study, published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal, showed that greater age, higher BMI, greater number of pregnancies, larger pre-pregnancy bra cup size and history of smoking were significant risk factors in the development of sagging breasts.