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Breastfeeding for Maternal Cardiovascular Health: A Review of the Evidence

by Sonia Semenic, RN, PhD
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP, 1 Nurse Contact Hours, 0.1 Midwifery CEU, 1 Dietetic CEU
  • Handout: Yes

There is mounting research evidence that lactation is associated with both short- and long-term benefits for maternal cardiovascular health. Observational studies have found that lactation can lower maternal blood pressure, risk of metabolic syndrome, and other markers of cardiovascular risk (Rameez et al, 2019; Qu et al, 2018), and a recent meta-analysis involving more than 1 million individuals concluded that breast/chest-feeding is associated with a 10% lower risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease or stroke in later life (Tschiderer et al, 2022). Potential explanations for the cardioprotective impacts of lactation include the role of lactation in postpartum lipid metabolism (Countouris et al, 2020), beneficial effects of oxytocin on the cardiovascular system (Jankowski, 2020), and the role of oxytocin in the stress response (Brunton et al, 2008). However, the relationship between lactation and cardiovascular outcomes is complex and may be mediated by such factors as obesity and metabolic syndrome (Stuebe, 2015). This presentation will review the latest research evidence related to the association between lactation and cardiovascular outcomes, and provide guidance on how to promote breast/chest-feeding for maternal cardiometabolic health.

Learning Objectives:

1. Name 3 peer-reviewed research articles related to the short- and long-term impacts of lactation on maternal cardiovascular outcomes
2. List 2 of the roles of oxytocin on the cardiovascular system
3. Explain 2 evidence-based associations between lactation, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular outcomes
4. Define high-risk groups for targeted promotion of breast/chest-feeding to optimize cardiometabolic health

Presentations: 1  |  Hours / CE Credits: 1  |  Viewing Time: 2 Weeks
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Presentations: 28  |  Hours / CE Credits: 29.5  |  Viewing Time: 8 Weeks