New Mothers Urged to Continue with Prescribed Antidepressants
A new study has found that women who are taking antidepressant medicines are more successful at breastfeeding while on medicine compared to when not taking it. Still, there are concerns that every expectant and new mother should discuss with their physician regarding whether or not their antidepressant is appropriate for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Analyzing the data from the Danish National Birth Cohort in Denmark, researchers from the University of Adelaide studied the outcomes of 368 women who were on antidepressants before they became pregnant.1
“We found that two-thirds of the women stopped taking their antidepressant medication either after becoming pregnant or during breastfeeding, ” said Luke Grzeskowiak, PhD. “A third of the women 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.”1
According to Grzeskowiak, the health benefits of continued breastfeeding greatly outweigh any perceived risk to the baby from antidepressant medicines;1 however, it is still a conversation to have with your physician to decide whether or not it is right for you and your baby.
“This is a really important message because we know that breastfeeding has immense benefits for the child and the mom herself, including a degree of protection against postnatal depression,” said Grzeskowiak. “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 with be the best outcome for both the baby and the mother.”1
Many women struggle with the decision about what to do with medicines during pregnancy and lactation,1 and a trusted physician’s advice about their own unique situation is still the best.
“If they are taking antidepressants, they should be supported and encouraged by family members, friends, and health care professionals to continue with their medication, knowing that good breastfeeding outcomes are all-important for them and their child,” said Grzeskowiak.1
 Nauert, R. (2014). New Moms on Antidepressants Urged to Stay On Them. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 14, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/04/11/new-moms-on-antidepressants-urged-to-stay-on-them/68382.html