Background: Few studies have investigated breastfeeding outcomes among women exposed to antidepressants. Research aim: This study aimed to evaluate the association between antidepressant use in late gestation and maternal psychiatric illness on breastfeeding rates at discharge from hospital.
Methods: The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of 32,662 women delivering live-born singletons between January 2001 and December 2008. Electronic hospital records were used to obtain data on antidepressant exposure during late gestation and whether mothers were breastfeeding at discharge from hospital following delivery.
Results: Five hundred seventy-five women received a dispensing for an antidepressant in late gestation (exposed), 1,552 did not receive a dispensing for an antidepressant but had a reported psychiatric illness (disease comparison), and 30,535 served as nonexposed controls. Exposed women were significantly less likely to be breastfeeding their infants at discharge from hospital compared with nonexposed women, adjusted odds ratio ( AOR) = 0.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.50-0.80], but no statistically significant difference was observed when compared with women in the disease comparison group, AOR = 0.83, 95% CI [0.65-1.07]. In stratified analyses, compared with women in the disease comparison group, exposed women were significantly less likely to be breastfeeding their infants at discharge from hospital if their neonate was delivered at term, AOR = 0.73, 95% CI [0.55-0.98], but not preterm, AOR = 1.24, 95% CI [0.66-2.32].
Conclusion: While antidepressant use is associated with a reduction in breastfeeding rates, this association appears to be strongly influenced by factors such as underlying maternal psychiatric illness. Overall, these results highlight that these women may benefit from additional education and support to improve breastfeeding rates.
Keywords: antidepressive agents; breastfeeding; lactation; prenatal care.