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.