Proof that antidepressants and breastfeeding can mix

by David Ellis

(Medical Xpress)—University of Adelaide researchers have found that women on antidepressant medication are more successful at breastfeeding their babies if they keep taking the medication, compared with women who quit antidepressants because of concerns about their babies' health.

These results have been presented this week at the 18th Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ) Annual Conference in Perth.

Using data from the Danish National Birth Cohort in Denmark, researchers in the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute studied the outcomes of 368 women who were on prior to becoming pregnant.

"We found that two thirds of the women (67%) stopped taking their antidepressant medication either after becoming pregnant or during breastfeeding," says NHMRC Early Career Fellow Dr Luke Grzeskowiak from the Robinson Research Institute.

"A third of the women (33%) continued to take antidepressant medication throughout their pregnancy and while breastfeeding, and these women were much more successful at maintaining breastfeeding up to and beyond the recommended six months.

"In contrast, those women who had stopped taking antidepressants were also more likely to stop breastfeeding within the recommended six months."

Dr Grzeskowiak says the health benefits of continued breastfeeding greatly outweigh any perceived risk to the baby from antidepressant medication.

"This is a really important message because we know that breastfeeding has immense benefits for the child and the mum herself, including a degree of protection against post-natal depression," he says.

"The amount of antidepressant medication that finds its way into a mother's breast milk is very low. On the balance of it, we believe that continuing to take and maintaining regular breastfeeding will be the best outcome for both the baby and the mother."

Dr Grzeskowiak says many struggle with decisions about what to do with medications both during pregnancy and lactation.

"If they're taking antidepressants, they should be supported and encouraged by family members, friends and healthcare professionals to continue with their medication, knowing that good outcomes are all-important for them and their child," he says.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Women on antidepressants less likely to breastfeed

Mar 09, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers at the California Teratogen Information Service (CTIS) Pregnancy Health Information Line, a statewide non-profit organization based at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, ...

In-hospital formula use deters breastfeeding

Feb 14, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—When mothers feed their newborns formula in the hospital, they are less likely to fully breastfeed their babies in the second month of life and more likely to quit breastfeeding early, ...

Antidepressants during pregnancy linked to preterm birth

Mar 27, 2014

Antidepressant medications taken by pregnant women are associated with increased rates of preterm birth. This finding reinforces the notion that antidepressants should not be used by pregnant women in the absence of a clear ...

ASPS: Breastfeeding after implants won't cause sagging

Oct 10, 2013

(HealthDay)—Among women with breast implants, breastfeeding does not worsen the degree of sagging due to pregnancy, according to a study presented at Plastic Surgery The Meeting, the annual meeting of the ...

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

10 hours ago

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

12 hours ago

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

Taking preventive health care into community spaces

13 hours ago

A church. A city park. An office. These are not the typical settings for a medical checkup. But a new nationwide study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows that providing health services in ...

User comments