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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Blog arrow RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS AND BREAST FEEDING
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS AND BREAST FEEDING
"Breast feeding, but not use of oral contraceptives, is associated with a reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis." Ann Rheum Dis 2008. Published Online First: 13 May 2008. doi:10.1136/ard.2007.084707
In this study researches found that women who breastfeed for an extended period of time after the birth of their children may be less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Breastfeeding for more than a year reduced women's risk of the condition 54% and breastfeeding for at least a month tended to reduce the risk 26%.

Because RA can improve during pregnancy, oral contraceptives have been assumed to create the same response. This study disproved that assumption. Given the risk profile of taking oral contraceptives-clotting disorders, stroke, etc., it was a problematic assumption from the start.

This analysis included 136 women with incident rheumatoid arthritis identified through a community-based RA registry, the local outpatient clinic administrative register, and national hospital and death registries. These women were matched by age to 544 women in the study who did not have rheumatoid arthritis. Women who developed RA were less likely to have a history of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding appeared to have a dose-dependent effect in reducing RA risk. Women who had breastfed their children for 13 months or those who breastfed for one to 12 months had less RA compared with those who had never breastfed. Breastfeeding appeared to be particularly protective against rheumatoid factor-negative (lab marker) disease, although the trend for lower risk with longer duration was seen regardless of rheumatoid factor status. Length of duration of breastfeeding was a significant predictor of RA risk even after controlling for other factors, like smoking and education level.

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