Breastfeeding May Protect Mom's Heart
Lactation linked to decreased risk of heart ailments later on
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2009 2:22 PM CST
Breastfeeding...not just good for baby?   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Mothers who breastfeed their children can expect a personal benefit down the road: A new study has found they are five times less likely than women who don't breastfeed to develop calcification in their major arteries—build-up whose presence "might lead to symptomatic heart disease," one of the researchers tells HealthDay. The study looked at women between the ages of 45 and 58 who had had at least one child.

The study joins a growing stable of research that links breastfeeding to a mother's heart health. The researchers surmise that lactation makes use of fat stored up during pregnancy; if it is not expended, it can lead to calcification of the arteries. The study found that 32% of non-breastfeeders had coronary artery calcification, compared to 17% of others. Some 39% had aortic calcification compared to 17% of those who had lactated. The authors recommend at least 3 months of breastfeeding for the desired preventative effect.