Duration of lactation and incidence of maternal hypertension: A longitudinal cohort study

Alison M. Stuebe, Eleanor Schwarz, Karen Grewen, Janet W. Rich-Edwards, Karin B. Michels, E. Michael Foster, Gary Curhan, John Forman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

Never or curtailed lactation has been associated with an increased risk for incident hypertension, but the effect of exclusive breastfeeding is unknown. The authors conducted an observational cohort study of 55,636 parous women in the US Nurses' Health Study II. From 1991 to 2005, participants reported 8,861 cases of incident hypertension during 660,880 person-years of follow-up. Never or curtailed lactation was associated with an increased risk of incident hypertension. Compared with women who breastfed their first child for ≥12 months, women who did not breastfeed were more likely to develop hypertension (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.27, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.18, 1.36), adjusting for family history and lifestyle covariates. Women who never breastfed were more likely to develop hypertension than women who exclusively breastfed their first child for ≥6 months (HR = 1.29, 95% CI: 1.20, 1.40). The authors found similar results for women who had never breastfed compared with those who had breastfed each child for an average of ≥12 months (HR = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.13, 1.32). In conclusion, never or curtailed lactation was associated with an increased risk of incident maternal hypertension, compared with the recommended ≥6 months of exclusive or ≥12 months of total lactation per child, in a large cohort of parous women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1147-1158
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Volume174
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • breast feeding
  • hypertension
  • lactation
  • oxytocin
  • parity
  • pregnancy
  • prolactin
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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