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Drugs given during labour linked to breastfeeding problems

(18 Posts)
pasturesnew Tue 01-Sep-09 14:45:14

Anyone seen this Times article today?

Thought it was quite interesting.

Reallytired Tue 01-Sep-09 15:17:48

These drugs can save lives, however I think its a bit of smokescreen to blame drugs on poor breastfeeding rates.

Many women in the UK just have no clue how to breastfeed as they have never been taught.

Women in developing countries have grown up seeing breastfeeding as daily occurrance. They have learnt from their mothers and their mothers/ mother in law support them.

LoveageFairyCake Tue 01-Sep-09 15:24:37

I was given drugs post labour due to pph, to stop blood loss. I had no problems at all with bfing my three children, plenty of milk. Without the drugs I think I would have had much bigger problems bfing, as I could have been dead from blood loss.

reikizen Tue 01-Sep-09 15:26:32

This is not new and is something we have discussed during my training but as far as I am aware the evidence so far is fairly weak regarding oxytocic drugs and does not support a cause and effect relationship. As Reallytired points out low breasfeeding rates are more complicated than that but research points to drugs such as epidurals and pethidine having a detrimental effect on early feeding which in turn can make women feel a failure at the first hurdle and lead to 'top ups' etc.

reikizen Tue 01-Sep-09 15:27:19

grin to LoveageFC

LoveageFairyCake Tue 01-Sep-09 15:30:14

reikezen - what I did have was an excellent midwife helping me establish bfing.

I am forever grateful to the same midwife who assisted me in labour and administered the drugs that stopped the bleeding.

('tis belgo btwsmile)

kathyis6incheshigh Tue 01-Sep-09 15:31:42

I wonder how they controlled for the fact that if you're a lentil-weavery type who refuses the drugs they give out as standard, you are also likely to breastfeed? Whereas if you are generally quite keen on things artificial, you will go for any drugs they suggest and be more likely to be impressed by the claims of formula.

AMumInScotland Tue 01-Sep-09 15:36:25

Interesting point: "It is routine for women being treated on the NHS to be offered these drugs"

Maybe bf rates are higher among women who have home births, or don't routinely take things just because the NHS offers them?

BetterBitOfButter Tue 01-Sep-09 15:37:06

After about 20 hours of labour I had an epidural following gas and air and after another 6 hours had a spinal and emergency c section. I am very pro breastfeeding, DS latched on very well, no pain etc I just didn't produce enough milk despite following every piece of (often quite mental) advice offered by my health visitor. I breast fed to 6 months but supplemented with formula from 6 weeks (the point at which DS finally regained his birth weight). I was told by my Health Visitor that my poor milk production may have been linked to the drugs/c section but could never work out why.

LoveageFairyCake Tue 01-Sep-09 15:37:58

good point kathy, and also how do they control for the fact that if you have drugs to stop blood loss, then you will have probably already have lost a significant amount of blood, which leaves you feeling awful and weak, making bfing even harder to establish.

ZephirineDrouhin Tue 01-Sep-09 22:32:43

I was quite annoyed to read this today. I remember being told that you could opt out of the syntometrine injection but that this was not recommended, and nobody ever mentioned that there might be any impact on breastfeeding. But a quick google suggests that this has been known as a possible side effect for years.

Anyone know any more about this?

pasturesnew Wed 02-Sep-09 11:07:08

I am going to ask to try a natural third stage this time if poss. as a result of this information, last time round I felt a bit hurried by hospital midwife to have the syntometrine and get out of the pool room but given that my labour only took 3.5 hours of the hospital's time I think they can give me another 30 minutes this time round!

AtheneNoctua Wed 02-Sep-09 14:30:05

I can't imgagine how the drugs could affect milk supply weeks or months later. Surely IF there is any truth to this it could only impact the first day or two at most.

Sounds like lentil weaving propoganda to me.

ZephirineDrouhin Wed 02-Sep-09 18:38:40

Athene, if milk production is compromised in the first few days there is a very good chance that breastfeeding will never be successfully established (obviously), so of course it will effect breastfeeding outcomes weeks or months later.

It may be, of course, that the effect on prolactin production is too slight to outweigh the risks of not having the injection. But why on earth would you think the scientists who conducted this study are lentil weaving propagandists?

nellie12 Wed 02-Sep-09 18:58:45

This study was carried out on women who gave birth 10-20 years ago when support for breastfeeding was far less both politically within the nhs and in terms of practical support.

It may be that this study is right but I think I would prefer to see a larger study that concentrated on the recent experiences of women before I made a decision about the validity in its claims.

abra1d Wed 02-Sep-09 19:09:28

'This study was carried out on women who gave birth 10-20 years ago when support for breastfeeding was far less both politically within the nhs '

I don't think this is completely correct--not within all NHS areas, anyway. When I gave birth to my son, getting on for 13 years ago, we had a world-renowned breast-feeding specialist in the hospital and people were referred to her. There was lots of support from midwives and health visitors.

nellie12 Wed 02-Sep-09 19:12:17

Count yourself lucky abra1d. I did nurse training 15 years ago and the support given to new breastfeeding mums was minimal when I was on the maternity ward. (wasn't much better 10 yrs later when I gave birth but thats a different thread.

abra1d Thu 03-Sep-09 17:50:18

Well, it was a big teaching hospital but the local midwifes were lovely, too.

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