Breastfeeding and Impact on Cardiovascular Disease
August 15, 2019
Researchers have long touted the many benefits of breastfeeding for moms and babies. Thanks to continued research and the results of another recent study, there may be another benefit to add to the list.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) reported that there may be a link between breastfeeding and a lower risk of heart disease.1 The study found that women who breastfeed had a 14 percent lower risk of developing and 34 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease is a term that can be used to refer to a number of conditions involving the cardiovascular system (the heart and circulatory system). Cardiovascular disease can include heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia and heart valve problems.2
How Breastfeeding May Lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
In the JAHA study, researchers found that women who were 45 years of age or older and who had breastfed had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease hospitalization and cardiovascular disease mortality.1 This suggest that among childbearing women, breastfeeding may offer long-term cardiovascular health benefits.1 However, it should be noted that the research did have some limitations.
The authors of the study acknowledged that mothers who have breastfed may generally lead healthier lifestyles and come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. Nevertheless, researchers discovered that the findings of the study were not altered when adjustments were made for these lifestyle and socioeconomic factors.1
There are multiple theories that seek to explain the link between breastfeeding and cardiovascular benefits for the mother. But for the most part, the specific reasons have yet to be determined. One such theory attributes cardiovascular health to the release of the hormone oxytocin, which relaxes blood vessels and may, in turn, lower blood pressure.3-4 However, more research is needed in this area.
Supporting Your Health and Nutrition Needs While Breastfeeding
As an expecting mother, you must maintain your body’s store of nutrients for you and your baby. During pregnancy, the baby receives nutrients through the placenta and umbilical cord. After giving birth, many of the nutrients you consume go to your baby through your breastmilk (for women who choose to breastfeed). Women who do not have enough nutrients stored in their bodies could be at higher risk of experiencing nutrient deficiencies during and after pregnancy.5
Nutrition is an important part of overall health and well-being at every stage of your maternal journey. Taking a daily prenatal vitamin can help you meet nutritional goals, from pregnancy to breastfeeding and beyond. Prenate® Restore from the Prenate® Vitamin Family helps support lactation with probiotics and 400 mg DHA. What makes this vitamin unique is that it is designed to not only meet the needs of breastfeeding moms but is also appropriate to take during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor about whether a prescription prenatal vitamin from the Prenate® Vitamin Family may be right for you.