Breastfeeding reduces multiple sclerosis relapse risk

February 20th, 2009 - 2:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 20 (ANI): Breastfeeding may help reduce relapse risk in women with multiple sclerosis, according to a new study.

The research team from Stanford University examined 32 pregnant women with MS and 29 pregnant women without MS during each trimester and up to a year after they gave birth.

Almost 52 percent of the women with MS did not breastfeed or began supplemental formula feedings within two months of giving birth.

Of those, 87 percent had a relapse after pregnancy compared to 36 percent of women with MS who breastfed exclusively for at least two months after pregnancy.

The study showed that sixty percent of the women reported their main reason for not breastfeeding exclusively was to start taking MS treatments again.

Women who began taking MS treatments within the first two months after giving birth had significantly higher risk of suffering a relapse than women with MS who did not start taking medications early, regardless of whether they breastfed.

However, those who breastfed exclusively got their menstrual periods back later than the women who did not breastfeed or began early supplemental feedings.

“Our findings call into question the benefit of choosing not to breastfeed or stopping breastfeeding early in order to start taking MS therapies,” said study author Annette Langer-Gould, MD, PhD, of Stanford University in California, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Larger studies need to be done on whether women should delay taking MS medications in order to breastfeed,” she added.

The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’’s 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle. (ANI)

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