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Nancy Schimelpfening

Women on Antidepressants Less Likely to Breastfeed

By March 26, 2012

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According to researchers at the California Teratogen Information Service (CTIS), women who use antidepressants during pregnancy are significantly less likely to breastfeed their babies.

Their study was conducted using data obtained by counselors at the CTIS Pregnancy Health Information Line, a toll-free service offering women information about their potential exposure to substances which may cause birth defects.  Four hundred and sixty-six women who had used selective serotonin reuptake (SSRI) antidepressants during their pregnancy were included in the study.

The study found that women who had been exposed to an SSRI at any time during their pregnancies were 60% less likely to breastfeed than those who took no antidepressant.

According to Christina Chambers, author of the study, this suggests that women who have depression and/or take antidepressants may need additional encouragement and support when making the decision to breastfeed.

If you live in California and wish to ask CTIS questions about antidepressants and breastfeeding, their information line can be reached at 800-532-3749 or via instant message at CTISPregnancy.org.  Outside of California, information can be obtained by calling the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) at 866-626-6847.

The study was published online in The Journal of Human Lactation.

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March 27, 2012 at 8:48 am
(1) TL72074 says:

Isn’t this pretty obvious? Of course most women on SSRI’s don’t breastfeed, because most SSRI anti-depressants are class C medications that come with cautions about use while pregnant or breastfeeding due to potential side-effects to the baby. It seems to me the jury is still out on what the long and short-term impacts are of these medications on children, so what additional encouragement or support should be offered?

Do a google search for “(your ssri) breastfeeding” to see the information that’s out there. For what it’s worth, I found kellymom’s references on the topic to be fair and balanced, but by no means complete.

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