Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Could Reduce Early Menopause Risk

by Prachee published on -

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Attaining menopause as early as the age of 45 or lower can come with a lot of complications. On the positive side, a new study has added to the list of what can reduce the risk of early menopause and thus reduce health issues in older females. According to this study, pregnancy and breastfeeding for seven to 12 months can significantly reduce the risk of early menopause before the age of 45.

Existing research suggests that early menopause could add to the risk of cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and even early death. The new study sought to understand the association of parity and breastfeeding to early menopause risk. Parity refers to the number of pregnancies carried for a viable gestational age.

Pregnant woman doing fitness exercises in a room with her child

Exercising post-partum can have many benefits. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

 

“The study results provide the strongest evidence to date that exclusive breastfeeding may reduce the risk of early menopause,” said Lisa Halvorson, M.D., chief of the NICHD Gynaecological Health and Disease Branch, which oversaw the research.

The data from the Nurses’ Health Study II were analyzed for the purpose of this research. It was found that women who had a full-term pregnancy were at an 8% lower risk of early menopause as compared to women who had not been pregnant or women who had been pregnant for less than six months. A second pregnancy increased the difference by 16%, while a third pregnancy reduced the risk by 22%.

On the other hand, breastfeeding for more than two years led to a 26% lower risk of early menopause as compared to women who breastfed for less than a month. Surprisingly, women who breastfed for a span of seven to 12 months had a 28% reduced risk in comparison.

While the study involved 100,000 participants between the ages of 25 to 42 years, the study could not arrive at why such an association exists. One hypothesis talks about pregnancy and breastfeeding halting the process of ovulation for the span, in turn delaying menopause. The paper was published in the JAMA Network Open.

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About the Author

Prachee is a content writer for Organic Facts and is responsible for writing on the latest wellness trends. A former Journalism & Media teacher, she prides herself on being able to seamlessly dabble between health, science, and technology. She has completed her Masters in Communication Studies from the University of Pune, India as well as an online course on “Introduction to Food and Health” from Stanford University, US. Prachee fancies herself to be a poet and a cook when the rare lightning of inspiration strikes.

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