Pregnant Women on Antidepressants Less Likely To Breastfeed Their Babies
Mar 9, 2012 - 12:41:47 PM
Results Show Need For Additional Breastfeeding Support and Education
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - TUCSON, Ariz. – Researchers associated with the Arizona Pregnancy Riskline have found women exposed to certain antidepressants during pregnancy were significantly less likely to breastfeed their babies, compared to unexposed women. The results of the study were published in the February 2012 online edition of The Journal of Human Lactation.
The study uses data obtained by counselors at the California Pregnancy Health Information Line. Like the Arizona Pregnancy Riskline, the California program is a toll-free service offering evidence-based clinical information about exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It focused on 466 pregnant women who contacted the service over a 10-year period with questions about a wide variety of exposures and, after being counseled, agreed to participate in a follow-up study of their pregnancy outcome.
Dee Quinn, MS, CGC, director of the Arizona Pregnancy Riskline, said the study suggests that women who have depressive disorders and/or who take antidepressants in pregnancy may require additional encouragement and support when making the choice to breastfeed an infant.
“If you have questions about the use of an antidepressant during pregnancy or breastfeeding, our service can provide up-to-date, scientific information specific to your situation,” she added. “You can reach the Pregnancy Riskline at: 888-285-3410 or on our website: (www.pharmacy.arizona.edu/centers/pregnancy-riskline).”
The study specifically examines breastfeeding choices of women exposed to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants (some examples include Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil) at the time of delivery, compared to those who discontinued use of antidepressants earlier in pregnancy, as well as to those women who report not taking antidepressants at all. The results showed women exposed to an SSRI anytime in pregnancy were about 60 percent less likely to initiate breastfeeding than women who took no antidepressant.
“While the benefits of breastfeeding an infant are very clear, this study suggests that women who are taking antidepressants in pregnancy are not engaging in this behavior as often as we would like to see,” said Christina Chambers PhD, MPH, professor of pediatrics at University of California, San Diego, and co-author of the study.
“Whether this is due to the mother’s fear of harming her baby by breastfeeding while taking the medication or due to the mother’s depression itself is unclear.”
About the Arizona Pregnancy Riskline
The Arizona Pregnancy Riskline is a part of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center located at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. The Arizona Pregnancy Riskline is dedicated to providing accurate, evidence-based, clinical information to patients and health-care professionals about exposures during pregnancy and lactation through its toll-free hotline, at 888-285-3410 and website, www.pharmacy.arizona.edu/centers/pregnancy-riskline.
Outside of Arizona, please call OTIS at (866) 626-6847 or visit the website at: www.otispregnancy.org
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