Breastfeeding benefits aren’t limited to babies. More and more studies are highlighting the benefits for mom as well – a higher metabolic rate, a decreased risk for certain cancers, decreased risk of postpartum hemorrhaging and a lower risk of postpartum depression, just to name a few. A new study, conducted by the University of North Carolina, may have found yet another benefit for moms– a decreased risk for high blood pressure.
Nearly 56,000 women participated in the study, all of which had at least one child. When researchers compared the blood pressure of mothers who formula fed their infants or breastfeed for three months or less, they were found to have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure than those that breastfed for at least six months.
Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers estimated that up to 12% of all high blood pressure cases in women could be linked to “suboptimal” breastfeeding. Had they breastfed, they might have been able to avoid blood pressure problems altogether.
The study cannot prove, however, that breastfeeding was the true reason for the decreased blood pressure risks. Yet, it is another possible benefit that mothers should consider when trying to decide on breast or bottle feeding.
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