Breastfeeding can be successful in women with rheumatic diseases such as lupus. Moreover, any woman who wants to nurse their baby can do so and most medications to treat rheumatic conditions are compatible with breastfeeding.
A group of 265 pregnancies were studied and 88 of these women had lupus. Of the total group, 84% of women who wanted to breastfeed were able to do so. A woman’s education, diagnosis, and her age influenced the decision to nurse. Concerns about medication were the primary reason for not breastfeeding baby. Yet only 1.5% of study participants were taking a medication not considered compatible with breastfeeding at the postpartum visit with an additional 3.8% planning to start a non-compatible medication. Lupus diagnosis and lower educational level modified by race, contributed to lower breastfeeding rates.
Known predictors of breastfeeding include cultural expectations, socioeconomic factors, and the mother’s capability and feasibility to do so. This research suggests adding actual and perceived medication risks to these determinants. More education is needed to address women’s concerns about breastfeeding while taking medications. Learn about planning ahead for contraception and pregnancy.
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