Breastfeeding in polycystic ovary syndrome

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2008;87(5):531-5. doi: 10.1080/00016340802007676.


Background: To investigate the breastfeeding rate in new mothers with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Methods: Case-control study. Thirty-six women with PCOS and 99 controls matched for age, gestational length and parity, answered a questionnaire. Breastfeeding at one-, three- and six-months postpartum was registered and the two groups were compared. In the women with PCOS, androgen levels through pregnancy were analysed and related to breastfeeding rate.

Results: At one-month postpartum, 27 (75%) of the women with PCOS were breastfeeding exclusively, whereas five (14%) did not breastfeed at all. Among controls, 88 (89%) were breastfeeding exclusively and two (2%) did not breastfeed (p=0.001). At three- and six-months postpartum, breastfeeding was equal in the two groups. Problems with sore nipples and seeking professional lactation support were also equal. Dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate levels at gestational week 32 and 36 showed a weak negative association with breastfeeding in PCOS women. Breastfeeding rate was not associated with maternal gestational levels of androstenedione, testosterone, sex-hormone binding globulin, or free testosterone index in PCOS.

Conclusions: Women with PCOS appear to have a reduced breastfeeding rate in the early postpartum period. Possibly, gestational dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate might negatively influence breastfeeding rate in women with the syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Androstenedione / blood
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Testosterone
  • Androstenedione
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate