Proof that antidepressants and breastfeeding can mix

April 10, 2014

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 antidepressants 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 antidepressant medication and maintaining regular breastfeeding will be the best outcome for both the baby and the mother."

Dr Grzeskowiak says many women 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 breastfeeding outcomes are all-important for them and their child," he says.
-end-
This research has been funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Women's and Children's Hospital Foundation.

Media Contact:

Dr Luke Grzeskowiak
NHMRC Early Career Fellow
Robinson Research Institute
The University of Adelaide
luke.grzeskowiak@adelaide.edu.au

University of Adelaide

Related Breastfeeding Articles from Brightsurf:

New guidelines say breastfeeding is safe after anaesthesia
New guidelines published by the Association of Anaesthetists in the journal Anaesthesia, to coincide with the start of World Breast Feeding Week (1-7 August) say that breastfeeding is safe after the mother has had anaesthesia, as soon as she is alert and able to feed.

New protocol on breast cancer and breastfeeding
Managing women with breast cancer who are breastfeeding is a complex issue.

Is it safe to vape while breastfeeding?
Findings from a new animal study suggest that maternal nicotine exposure during breastfeeding could be linked to problems with skull and face development.

Breastfeeding benefits during COVID-19
While the current coronavirus pandemic continues to affect all people, families will still give birth and bring new life into the world.

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Coronavirus treatment and risk to breastfeeding women
Little data is available about the ability of antiviral drugs used to treat COVID-19, coronavirus, to enter breastmilk, let alone the potential adverse effects on breastfeeding infants.

Managing cannabis use in breastfeeding women
As more states legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis use and increasingly decriminalize cannabis, the risk to the growth and development of breastfeeding infants whose mothers use cannabis becomes a growing public health concern.

New recommendations released on bedsharing to promote breastfeeding
Leading experts representing The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) have released new evidence-based recommendations regarding the benefits and risks of bedsharing for mother-infant pairs who have initiated breastfeeding and are in home settings.

Apps help with breastfeeding -- at a cost
Mobile phone apps are increasingly being used to support breastfeeding decisions - sometimes at a cost, a Flinders University study indicates.

Breastfeeding disparities among us children by race/ethnicity
Overall rates of breastfeeding increased from 2009 to 2015 but they varied by race/ethnicity in this observational study that used national survey data for nearly 168,000 infants in the United States.

Read More: Breastfeeding News and Breastfeeding Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.