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Breastfeeding Protects Mother's Heart

Apr 22, 2009
Women, who breastfeed their babies, have lower risk of developing heart attacks or strokes, a new study found.

Scientists at University of Pittsburgh revealed that breastfeeding has benefits not only for a baby, but for their mothers too. In general, women who breastfed their babies, were 10 percent less likely to have hypertension, diabetes, high level of cholesterol later in life. The benefits of breastfeeding increased, if woman was nursing longer.

The study included 139,681 women, aged between 50 and 79, who took part in the Women's Health Initiative long-term study. Scientists analyzed the data on women, who had given live birth, taking into account such factors as race, ethnicity, education, income, diet, physical activity, smoking habits, the use of various supplements and many others.

Dr. Schwarz, a leading author of the study and assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at University of Pittsburgh said that the benefits of breastfeeding persisted for many years, since the positive effect of breastfeeding was seen an average 35 years later.

Another long-term research by the Nurses' Health Study also found that breastfeeding cuts the risk of diabetes for women.

According to the World Health Organization women are advised to breastfeed their babies for the first six months exclusively and continue for at least 12 months, or as long as mutually desired. Other benefits of breastfeeding for women include lower risk of breast cancer and endometrial cancer, reduced risk of osteoporosis, promotes weight loss after delivery and contributes to better bonding between mother and the baby.

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