Researchers at Swansea University have recently announced their findings on the links between certain labour drugs and problems with breastfeeding.
They believe that drugs given to women in labour to prevent postpartum haemorrhage could be reducing their ability to breastfeed. The findings come after a study of 48,000 women between 1989 and 1999 who gave birth to healthy babies in South Wales.
The study was based on the clotting agents oxytocin or ergometrine, which are given to women to prevent bleeding after birth. The findings suggest that the drugs are associated with a 7 were able to breastfeed within 48 hours of birth. For the women that had an injection of oxytocin during their labour, the rate is reduced to 59 when women have the additional injection of ergometrine to combat bleeding.
The drugs are believed to reduce the body's ability to produce milk, which can be frustrating for the mother.
This is not the first time labour drugs have been blamed for a reduction in a woman's ability to breastfeed. The use of an epidural has also been blamed, and one study claims that women who have an epidural are twice as likely to give up breastfeeding in the first six months of a baby's life over those that don't have an epidural.
Dr. Siranda Torvaldsen, who oversaw the study on the effect an epidural can have, has said that he does not wish for these findings to make women feel guilty for wanting an epidural. The most important thing is to make sure you get as much support and advice as possible, and Torvaldsen believe that "For many women, the benefits of epidural analgesia will outweigh the risks and it is important that women feel supported whatever decision they make,"
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