Breastfeeding :: Fentanyl during labor impede breastfeeding

Women who receive fentanyl analgesia during labor may be less likely to breastfeed their infants, according to UK investigators. Based on their findings, they propose that women given this type of analgesia during labor should also receive support to successfully establish breastfeeding in the hospital.

There is currently some evidence that fentanyl and similar analgesic drugs have an impact on infant feeding, Dr. Sue Jordan from the University of Wales in Swansea and colleagues note in their report published in BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

To look into the matter, the team reviewed the medical records of a random sample of 425 healthy women who delivered a healthy full-term infant, their first, in 2000. At discharge from the hospital, 45 percent of the women were exclusively bottle-feeding their infants and none of the women began breast-feeding after going home.

In analyses accounting for factors known to influence infant feeding, fentanyl during labor, particularly at higher doses, appeared to impede the establishment of breastfeeding, the investigators report.

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