Breastfeeding protects women against health risks

Breastfeeding reduces women's risk of stroke or heart attack, says study

Mothers who breastfeed for at least a year can cut their risk of health problems including heart attack, heart disease and stroke by 10% compared to those who don’t, according to a US study.

Even breastfeeding for a month has long term health benefits for women as it can help cut chances of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, all of which are linked to heart disease.

Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh studied nearly 140,000 post-menopausal women. On average these women last breastfed thirty five yeas ago, suggesting long-lasting health advantages.

The findings add to the growing body of evidence that breastfeeding benefits mothers as well as babies.

Dr Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, one of the study’s authors, said: ‘Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for women, so it’s vitally important to know what we can do to protect ourselves.

‘We have known for years that breastfeeding is important for babies’ health, we now know that it is important for mothers’ health as well.’

FOR MORE BREASTFEEDING ADVICE CONTACT:

National Childbirth Trust: www.nct.org.uk

The Breastfeeding Network: www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk

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