Breastfeeding mothers less prone to high BP: Study

Updated: May 14, 2013, 14:40 PM IST

Melbourne: Breastfeeding reduces the risk of mothers developing high blood pressure later in life, a new Australian study has claimed.

Women who breastfeed were nine per cent less likely to develop high blood pressure than women who have never given birth, claims the latest research by University of Western Sydney (UWS).

Also, mothers who breastfeed were 20 to 45 per cent less likely to have high blood pressure than women who have given birth but did not breastfeed, the study said.

The study examined blood pressure rates in 74,785 Australian women aged above 45 years. It was found that the longer a woman breastfed, the less likely it was that she would have high blood pressure later in life, Australian Associated Press report said.

"Hopefully, this research will add to the discussion between women and their physicians and midwives," Joanne Lind of UWS School of Medicine said.

"Whenever possible, women should be encouraged to breastfeed as long as possible as the protective effect of breastfeeding increases with the length of the time of breastfeeding," she added.

In the research, it was also found that women in the 45 and 64 age group who breastfed for more than six months in their lifetime had a lower likelihood of having high blood pressure.

The benefits of breastfeeding, however, diminished from the age of 64 upwards.

"Once you`re over 64 these benefits of breastfeeding aren`t evident anymore because things like your age take over," Lind said, adding the research was the first to show a link between blood pressure and breastfeeding in Australian women.