Breastfeeding and Blood Pressure


Creative Commons License photo credit: Big C Harvey

Most of us are already familiar with the myriad benefits of breastfeeding for our babies. We know our breast fed babies are less likely to have digestive problems, infections, colic, and more. We’re probably also aware that breast feeding has benefits for us as women, including:





  • Reduced chance of breast cancer.
  • Reduced chance of ovarian cancer.
  • Weight loss.
  • Reduced chance of osteoporosis.

Of course, these are only a few of the benefits of breastfeeding. Research is constantly showing us more ways that breastfeeding benefits both us and our babies. One recent study suggests that we may be able to add one more important benefit to that list soon.

Breast Feeding May Reduce Chance of High Blood Pressure

The study involved over 50,000 women. It showed that those who had breastfed their children for at least six months were less likely to have high blood pressure as they grow older. The study didn’t exactly prove that breastfeeding was the direct cause of lower instance of breastfeeding. But the numbers were significant enough to suggest a connection. At the very least, they merit more study.

According to the study, women who had breastfed their children were a full 22% less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who had not. The study considered women up to 14 years after they had breastfed their babies.

Breastfeeding Just One of Many Things You Can Do To Improve Blood Pressure

Of course, breastfeeding isn’t the only thing you can do to avoid high blood pressure later in life. You can also:

  • Reduce your sodium intake.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Stop smoking and avoid second hand smoke.
  • Avoid or reduce stress.

Breastfeeding has long been known to reduce blood pressure while you’re doing it. With this new study suggesting that it can keep you from developing high blood pressure later, it makes more sense than ever to choose to breastfeed.

Even if the connection between blood pressure and breast feeding is never conclusively proven, it’s still worthwhile to breastfeed. What are your thoughts? What other long term health benefits do you know of which are associated with breastfeeding?

 

 


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