Hydroxychloroquine Treatment is Associated with Longer Duration Breastfeeding in Women with Lupus
In a new study, women breastfed longer when treated with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) before, during and after pregnancy. Women with lupus are more likely to breastfeed their child for less time (3 months) than healthy women. Breastfeeding is paramount for mother and child. It improves child survival, nutrition, development, and increases maternal health.
A group of 43 women with lupus (57 pregnancies) were questioned about their breastfeeding experience and their disease activity was measured before, during and after pregnancy. While almost all the women planned to breastfeed their child, 41 actually did, and they breastfed an average of three months.
- Women who did not breastfeed were more likely to have had a caesarean section, their baby didn’t grow normally in the womb (known as intrauterine growth restriction) or they experienced lupus disease relapse.
- Women who breastfed longer (up to 6 mos.) saw more stable lupus disease activity. The correlation may be due to the beneficial effects of HCQ on mother and child.
- Smoking, body mass index, joint impairment, disease duration and lack of HCQ treatment was associated with early termination of breastfeeding.
According to the researchers, HCQ treatment during post-partum could improve breastfeeding duration by preventing both disease flare and neonatal complications. Consult your physician before making changes to your medication.
Healthy pregnancies and outcomes are possible for women with lupus. Learn more about planning ahead for contraception and pregnancy.