Breastfeeding Linked to Heart Health

Mothers who breastfed their children for a combined period of one year were 10 percent less likely to have heart attacks, strokes or heart disease later in life than those who never nursed, according to a study by University of Pittsburgh researchers published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

“Any amount of breastfeeding is better than none, and the more the better in terms of [preventing] risk factors as well as heart disease itself,” lead author Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, M.D., said yesterday in an interview.

“We always hear it’s good for babies and their health and hear less about the benefits for women,” added Dr. Schwarz, assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Pitt. “This joins other studies in showing breastfeeding has an important role in helping women recover from pregnancy.

“Women who have been pregnant and don’t breastfeed don’t allow their bodies to recover in the way nature or God intended.”

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