Correlation of High Blood Pressure After Delivery and Breast-feeding

Beautiful young mother giving birth to a baby
A mother holding her newborn in the hospital. (Image: FamVeld/iStock/Getty Images)

An increase in blood pressure during or after delivery is common and raises a woman's risk for developing chronic diseases later in life. Several factors may influence postpartum blood pressure, and treatment may affect breast-feeding. To keep yourself and your infant healthy, consult your doctor if you have postpartum hypertension or any questions about breast-feeding.

Benefits of Breast-feeding

Breast milk is healthy for your baby because of its essential nutrients, including protein, vitamins and minerals, according to Women’s Health. The antibodies in your breast milk help your infant fight infections, and breast-fed infants are less likely to become obese later in life. Potential benefits for the lactating mother include a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stress reduction and lower costs. You can start breast-feeding immediately after delivery, and postpartum hypertension is not likely to affect the flow of milk.

Postpartum Hypertension

More than one-seventh of pregnant women experience increased blood pressure during pregnancy or soon after giving birth, according to an article in the journal "Heart." Blood pressure often increases within the first few days after birth, and you might need to remain in the hospital after delivery if you develop hypertension. Inform your doctor if you want to breast-feed during this time. Treatment for postpartum blood pressure may include blood pressure medications and further monitoring.

Dietary Components

Caffeine also may increase your risk for high blood pressure, according to MayoClinic.com. Sources include coffee, chocolate, tea and caffeinated soft drinks and energy drinks. According to La Leche League, consumption of caffeine also may lead to caffeine in breast milk, and infants may display symptoms of caffeine ingestion, such as insomnia. New mothers may want to reduce caffeine intake. Note that adequate intake of some minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, is necessary for maintaining healthy blood pressure but not for ensuring healthy breast milk, according to the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. For example, even if you do not take in enough calcium, your breast milk will be high in calcium from your bones.

Considerations

You can lower your risk of developing perinatal high blood pressure by maintaining a healthy weight before pregnancy and gaining weight according to recommendations during pregnancy, according to the journal "Heart." Women who breast-feed are more likely to reverse pregnancy weight gain with a healthy rate of weight loss. Some medications for high blood pressure may be dangerous for your infant if you are planning to breast-feed. Discuss your situation with your doctor to get the best advice on how to maintain or achieve normal blood pressure readings while providing your child with the best possible nutrition.

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