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Antidepressant use might cause lactation difficulties

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In a first-of-its-kind study, the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants during pregnancy is being linked to a delay in lactation in new moms.

During the study, University of Cincinnati researchers followed 431 mothers from labor through the first days of their child's life. The good news is that all women were eventually able to breastfeed. But, as explained by WebMD:

...The average time to lactation for the eight women taking SSRIs was almost 86 hours after childbirth, which was almost a day later than the average time it took women who did not take the antidepressants to establish a milk supply.

Lactation specialist Laurie Nommsen-Rivers, PhD, tells WebMD that this extra day can be the difference between success or failure for women anxious to provide their babies nutrition.

The article points out that only two percent of the women in the study were taking SSRIs, so the "findings are far from conclusive." But the lead researcher believes "this may end up being one of the few concrete explanations for at least some of the delayed lactation we see."

Nommsen-Rivers said the study, which appears in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, indicates that breastfeeding support is extra important for moms on antidepressants.

Previously: Depression in pregnancy: To treat or not to treat?
Photo by Jean et Melo

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