Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Breastfeeding a Newborn or Resuming MS treatment? Recent Studies Show that the Former May be the Better Choice

Because many MS medications involve a modification of the immune system, pregnant women are advised to discontinue use until they give birth. At this time, women face the choice of either nursing their child or resuming their MS treatment.

Annette Langer-Gould, M.D., Ph.D., along with her colleagues at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena, studied the association between women with and without MS who breastfed and how many of those with MS were more likely to start formula feedings within the first two months after birth. "Of the 52 percent of women with MS who did not breastfeed or began regular supplemental feedings within two months postpartum 87 percent had a postpartum relapse, compared with 36 percent of the women with MS who breastfed exclusively for at least two months postpartum”, the authors write. "Women with MS and healthy women who breastfed exclusively had significantly prolonged lactational amenorrhea [absence of menstruation], which was associated with a decreased risk of relapse in women with MS."

From this study, it appears that it would be in the best interest of women with MS who have just given birth to breastfeed for at least the first two months rather than give formula feedings to their newborns. Nevertheless, the authors state that the implications of this study should be confirmed by further research before being conclusively taken as an accurate association.

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