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Antidepressants May Make Nursing Challenging

Women who are depressed during pregnancy have a challenging choice. That’s because serious depression can have negative consequences for mother and baby. But concerns have been raised about the safety of some antidepressants. Drugs like Prozac or Zoloft have been associated with earlier births and lower Apgar scores.
Now another concern has been added to the list. Women who take SSRI-type antidepressants may have a harder time nursing during the first day or two after delivery. The researchers fear that delayed lactation might lead to dehydration in the baby or cause worry and frustration for the mother. This might discourage breastfeeding altogether.
Although the study was small, there is reason to believe that drugs that affect the neurochemical serotonin might affect breast milk production. The recommendation is that women who must take such medications should consult a lactation specialist before giving birth.
[Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, February 2010]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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