Breastfeeding can lower risk of maternal high BP: Study

New York: Breast milk not only provides nutrition to babies, but also protects mothers from developing high blood pressure (BP) for longer-term, suggests a study.

Hypertension is relatively common in pregnancy and lactation may be a means through pregnancy-related vascular risk factors including chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, and preeclampsia could be mitigated.

The findings by researchers Eliana Bonifacino from Montefiore Hospital, in Pennsylvania, US, showed that breastfeeding for as short as one to four months can decrease the risk of high BP in nursing mothers, as well as protect them across an extended follow-up of years up to decades.

Among 15 studies reviewed that had longer-term follow-up, 67 per cent of those evaluated for elevated blood pressure–and 100 per cent of the studies that assessed for an outcome of hypertension–showed a protective association with lactation, the researchers reported in the paper published in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine.

“Once again, it is confirmed that breastfeeding provides major health benefits not only to the infant but, also, no less so, to the nursing mother,” said Arthur I. Eidelman, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine.

Lactation is protective against many risk factors for cardiovascular disease, Type-2 diabetes in addition to benefits seen with as little as one month of the process, according to the study.