Labor Epidural Analgesia and Breastfeeding

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(Anesthesiology 2017;V:127)Breastfeeding is paramount for both maternal and neonatal well-being and incurs substantial long-term and short-term health benefits to the infant and the mother. A previous randomized controlled study observed that women receiving high-dose fentanyl labor epidural analgesia (cumulative dose >150 µg) were more likely to stop breastfeeding 6 weeks postpartum compared with women receiving less fentanyl or no fentanyl. In addition, the 24-hour neonatal neurobehavioral scores were also lowest in the neonates of women receiving high-dose epidural fentanyl. A systematic review of 23 studies found the evidence substantiating the association between labor epidural analgesia and breastfeeding success to be inconclusive.

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