Background: Despite the numerous health benefits associated with breastfeeding, only 49% of postpartum women in the United States breastfeed at 6 months. Therefore, it is important to understand factors that may influence a woman's decision to breastfeed. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between prenatal antidepressant use and the decision to breastfeed among postpartum women. Methods: Participants were postpartum women (N = 87) who had participated in a randomized trial examining the efficacy of a 6-month exercise intervention for the prevention of postpartum depression (2009-2012). Participants were recruited from the upper Midwest and were at risk for postpartum depression. Participants completed telephone-based questionnaires assessing their prenatal antidepressant use and breastfeeding behavior. Results: Seventeen percent of the participants took an antidepressant medication during pregnancy and 91% breastfed at birth. After controlling for baseline depressive symptoms, body mass index, and condition assignment, participants who were taking an antidepressant during pregnancy were less likely to initiate breastfeeding than participants who were not taking an antidepressant during pregnancy, β = 2.042, P <.05 (odds ratio = 0.130; 95% confidence interval, 0.024-0.696). Conclusion: Our study indicates that prenatal antidepressant medication use may be a potential barrier to breastfeeding initiation. Additional research is needed to better understand the factors that play a role in the relationship between prenatal antidepressant use and breastfeeding initiation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (R21 MH73820).
- Postpartum depression