Breastfeeding and Maternal Heart Health

Breastfeeding may benefit a mother’s heart. As reported in the August 2009 issue of Journal WATCH, a women’s health publication of The New England Journal of Medicine, a new study, “Duration of Lactation and Risk Factors for Maternal Cardiovascular Disease”suggests that breastfeeding can have cardiovascular benefits for the post-menopausal woman.

Women who never breastfed were more likely to be obese, hypertensive, diabetic or hyperlipidemic (elevated lipid or fat levels in blood) compared to those who breastfed.

They state the reasons are unknown but speculate that hormonal changes might have a protective impact on the cardiovascular system.

Another recent observational study reported similar benefits for the baby.

reference: Schwarz EB et al. Duration of lactation and risk factors for maternal cardiovascular disease. Obstet Gynecol 2009 May; 113:974

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