Lower Risk of Diabetes and Hypertension in Moms Who Breastfed for Over a Year Interview with:

Haitham M. Ahmed, MD, MPH Chair of Cardiology, Advantage Care Physicians Brooklyn, New York

Dr. Ahmed

Haitham M. Ahmed, MD, MPH
Chair of Cardiology, Advantage Care Physicians
Brooklyn, New York What is the background for this study?

Response: This was a meta-analysis of more than a quarter m illion mothers looking at the long-term cardiovascular risk reduction of mothers who breastfed their babies. What are the main findings?

Response: The results showed a 30% lower risk of diabetes and 13% lower risk of hypertension for mothers who breastfed for more than one year compared to those who did not. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Most recent data on breastfeeding have focused on the effects on the baby, but few studies have truly investigated the long term effects on mothers. This study really shows the extension of benefits to the mother as well. Pregnancy is associated with an adverse metabolic profile for mothers (higher cholesterol, higher triglycerides, worse glucose intolerance). On the other hand, breastfeeding results in consumption of 500 calories per day, higher catabolism, and mobilization of fat stores. So in many ways it can be a “reset” to the adverse metabolic profile in pregnancy. Many women are not able to breastfeed, but for those who are that may be an excellent way to improve long term cardiovascular and metabolic health of new mothers. For healthcare practitioners, counseling new mothers on these benefits is a low risk intervention that could result in positive cardiovascular impacts for patients. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: There was not enough data to meta-analyze hard cardiovascular events. Longer term studies are needed to truly assess the impact of lactation on hard outcomes for mothers. As cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death for women, greater emphasis is needed on upstream prevention targets, and particularly at times of metabolic vulnerability such as pregnancy.

No disclosures. 


Rameez RM, Sadana D, Kaur S, et al. Association of Maternal Lactation With Diabetes and Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Netw Open. Published online October 16, 20192(10):e1913401. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.13401



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Last Updated on October 18, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD