Breastfeeding and frequency of pregnancy may reduce risk of early menopause

20 March 2020

Women who breastfed their infants for seven to 12 months may have a significantly lower risk of early menopause than those who breastfed for less than a month. 

Pregnancy can also reduce the risk of early menopause.

A paper, published in JAMA Network Open, analysed data from 108,887 women aged 25 to 42. Compared with women who had never been pregnant or who had been pregnant for less than six months, those who had one full-term pregnancy had an 8% lower risk of early menopause. Those who had two pregnancies had a 16% lower risk, and those who had three pregnancies a 22% lower risk.

Women who breastfed for more than two years had a 26% lower risk than women who breastfed for less than a month. Similarly, women who breastfed exclusively for seven to 
12 months had a 28% lower risk of early menopause, compared with those who breastfed for less than a month.

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