Epidurals Affect a Mom's Ability to Breastfeed

One more reason expecting mothers should reconsider an epidural, in addition to increasing your chances of needing a Cesarean section: Some women may have troubles with breastfeeding for the short- and long-term.

Scientists tracked the deliveries of 1,260 mothers, a third of whom received an epidural including a narcotic (fentanyl) and the anesthetic bupivacaine. Although researchers were quick not to make mothers feel guilty about choosing an epidural, the results, as always, tell a different story.

For one, mothers who had an epidural during their deliveries were more prone to breastfeeding their babies intermittently, rather than exclusively, and having troubles with breastfeeding in general during the first week. And, considering their bad start, mothers who had epidurals were more likely to give up breastfeeding their child after six months.

If you have any question that breastfeeding is the best health option for your baby, I urge you to read an article I wrote that outlines the seven solid reasons to for doing so, which include building your infant's immune system.

International Breastfeeding Journal, December 11, 2006 Free Full Text Study

MSNBC December 15, 2006

Scientific American December 14, 2006