Women with normal blood pressure during pregnancy may be able to reduce their risk of heart disease by breastfeeding for at least six months per birth, according to new research that will be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are risk factors for heart disease and, according to the CDC, about half of Americans have at least one of those three risk factors.
“There’s a lot we still don’t understand about the accumulation of cardiovascular risks in women,” said Dr. Malamo Countouris, a cardiology fellow at the University of Pittsburgh and the study’s lead author, in a press release. “Examining how pregnancy may increase or perhaps mitigate some of that risk can give us insights into the unique presentation and development of heart disease risk in women.”
The study enrolled 678 women from various clinics across the state of Michigan during their pregnancies, between 1998 and 2004. After an average of 11 years, the women participated in a follow-up health assessment, and…