NEW DELHI: Pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, early starting of periods and pre-term birth may disappear shortly after pregnancy but can increase your chances of heart disease in later life by up to two fold. However, prolonged breastfeeding can be a savior for such women as it is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, says a study published in the BMJ.
The study was based on an overarching analysis of data including 32 reviews, evaluating multiple risk factors over an average follow-up period of 7-10 years.
Several other factors related to fertility and pregnancy also seem to be associated with subsequent cardiovascular disease, say the researchers, including use of combined oral contraceptives, polycystic ovary syndrome, early menopause and still birth.
Doctors in India said heart diseases, even diabetes, at a later age is common among women who have suffered such complications during their pregnancy but breastfeeding for a longer period certainly gives protection from many lifestyle diseases including cardiac disorders, diabetes and even cancer.
"Women who have metabolic disorders during their reproductive age are three to four times more prone to diabetes and heart diseases later in life. However, breastfeeding for up to two years helps because it reduces estrogen exposure in feeding mothers and therefore, such women are likely to have no periods or delayed periods while they are feeding. Breastfeeding helps in reducing metabolic load and lends protection to the mother from many diseases," says
Dr Niti Kautish
, senior gynecologist at Fortis Hospital.
Pre-eclampsia was associated with a four fold risk of heart failure, the journal said.
Previous research has also suggested that risk factors specific to women may be linked to cardiovascular disease and stroke, but the latest umbrella study conducted by a team of UK researchers is based on systematic reviews and meta-analyses that investigated links between reproductive factors in women of reproductive age and their subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease.