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Breastfeeding and later maternal risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease – The role of overall and abdominal obesity

In this study, we examined how any, full, and partial breastfeeding durations were associated with maternal risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD), and how prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference 7 years postpartum influenced these associations. A total of 63,260 women with live-born singleton infants in the Danish National Birth Cohort (1996-2002) were included. Interviews during pregnancy and 6 and 18 months postpartum provided information on prepregnancy weight, height, and the duration of full and partial breastfeeding. Waist circumference was self-reported 7 years postpartum. Cox regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios of incident hypertension and CVD, registered in the National Patient Register from either 18 months or 7 years postpartum through 15 years postpartum. Any breastfeeding ≥4 months was associated with 20-30% lower risks of hypertension and CVD compared to <4 months in both normal/underweight and overweight/obese women. At follow-up starting 7 years postpartum, similar risk reductions were observed after accounting for waist circumference adjusted for BMI. Partial breastfeeding >2 months compared to ≤2 months, following up to 6 months of full breastfeeding, was associated with 10-25% lower risk of hypertension and CVD. Compared with short breastfeeding duration, additional partial breastfeeding was as important as additional full breastfeeding in reducing risk of hypertension and CVD. Altogether, longer duration of breastfeeding was associated with lower maternal risk of hypertension and CVD irrespective of prepregnancy BMI and abdominal adiposity 7 years after delivery. Both full and partial breastfeeding contributed to an improved cardiovascular health in mothers.

Authors: Kirkegaard H; Bliddal M; Støvring H; Rasmussen KM; Gunderson EP; Køber L; Sørensen TIA; Nohr EA

Prev Med. 2018 09;114:140-148. Epub 2018-06-25.

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