Breastfeeding can lower women's BP risk

Breastfeeding can lower women's BP risk

To-be-moms please take note: Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies for at leat six months can lower their risk of developing high blood pressure later in life by a quarter, a new study has claimed.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina in the US found that women who gave their babies formula or breastfed for less than three months were almost a quarter more likely to develop blood pressure problems.

The study involving nearly 56,000 women with at least one child concluded that mothers who breastfed for at least six months were less likely to develop hypertension over a 14 year period than those who bottle fed.

The research, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, estimated that up to 12 per cent of high blood pressure cases among women with children could be linked to “suboptimal” breastfeeding.

While the findings do not prove breastfeeding was behind healthier blood pressure, the researchers said it added to evidence that it was good for both mothers and babies.
“Women who never breastfed were more likely to develop hypertension than women who exclusively breastfed their first child for six months or more,” Dr Alison Stuebe, who led the study, was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

“If this is a causal relationship, then taking away barriers to breastfeeding could make a difference in women’s health later on.”

Current health guidelines urge all mothers to breastfeed their children exclusively for the first six months of life, if they are able to.

Dr Stuebe said it was not a matter of making women try harder at breastfeeding but rather to make it easier for them.

Studies in the past have already shown that women who breastfeed have lower risks of diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease later in life.

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