Breastfeeding Linked to Reduced Risk for High Blood Pressure
Although the value of breastfeeding for the baby is well known, some studies indicate it is beneficial for the health of the mother as well. According to new research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, mothers who breastfeed babies may have a somewhat reduced risk of developing high blood pressure later in life, Heal Blog reports. This is the latest contribution to the body of scientific evidence showing other possible health benefits for mothers, which include a reduced risk of diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina looked at 56,000 U.S. women and found that those who did not breastfeed had a 22 percent higher incidence of developing high blood pressure, compared to those who had engaged in this practice at least six months. While the findings don’t provide conclusive proof that breastfeeding lowers blood pressure risk, animal studies indicate oxytocin, the hormone involved in breastfeeding, has a lingering effect on blood pressure. It is also recognized that women experience a short-term reduction in blood pressure immediately following breastfeeding
In addition to this possible connection, there are other advantages of breastfeeding that affect both mother and child. Experts feel breast milk protects babies from common maladies, such as diarrhea and middle-ear infections. The practice also reduces the risk of bleeding following birth, as well as provides a more nutritious feeding and a natural method of family planning.
Experts recommend that breastfeeding be a baby’s sole source of nourishment for the first six months of life. They further advise that babies continue to receive breast milk for the next six months, to augment solid food.
Lead researcher, Dr. Alison M. Stuebe, states that a way to encourage breastfeeding is to get mothers off to a good start in the hospital, Fox News notes. The World Health Organization advises engagement during hospitalization in baby-friendly measures that have proven to foster breastfeeding, such as feeding newborns solely breast milk, along with permitting mother and baby to be together continuously.
Stuebe also recommends more access to lactation counseling and paid maternity leave, along with break periods at work that allow women to pump breast milk. It appears evident that supportive measures from the healthcare system, the family and society at large to facilitate breastfeeding are worthwhile, since the practice is valuable to both mother and child.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.
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Article updated on: November 7th, 2011