Posted by on May 10, 2015 - 9:55am

This June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will release a revision to prescription guidelines--the first since 1979.   These new guidelines will provide  up-to-date and specific information to doctors about the risks and benefits of medication that pregnant women may need to control other conditions.   The rule of thumb over the years has just been to tough it out and not take any medicines that may (or may not) hurt the mother or the fetus. Research in this area is limited because pregnant women are excluded from most drug trials.  Dr. Katherine Wisner, WHRI Leadership Council Member and expert on mood disorders at Northwestern U, "Pregnant women get sick and sex women get pregnant.   But somehow we have created this myth of the medication-free pregnancy."   We've all heard stories about pregnant women who have serious depression and stop their meds---harming themselves or their baby because their condition is out of control. 

The old system used a scoring system of A, B, C, D, and X with ' X" being the most dangerous.  The new system will have three components:

  • Information on dosing and risks to the fetus
  • Known risks about the drug's impact on breast feeding (e.g. will it concentrate in the milk)
  • Drug's impact on fertility.

According to the CDC, about 90% of pregnant women are on at least one prescribed or OTC medication.  Providing doctors more labeling information with help them determine safe options for treatment and help women have a healthier pregnancy.. 

Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

Posted by on December 6, 2014 - 9:33am

Some women need to take medicines during pregnancy for health problems like diabetes, depression, morning sickness or seizures. Always talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist before taking any medicines, vitamins or herbs. Don't stop taking your prescription medicines unless your health care provider says that it is OK.

Lots of women need to take medicines while they are pregnant. Learn how you can sign-up for a pregnancy registry to share your experience with medicines.

Use these resources to help you talk with your health care provider about the medicines you take during your pregnancy.

Posted by on August 21, 2013 - 2:56pm

According to the 2013 Breastfeeding Report Card released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in July, a high rate of mothers are attempting to breastfeed their infants, and are breastfeeding their infants for longer. In 2010, around 75% of new mothers began breastfeeding.  Also in 2010, about 50% of babies were still being breastfed at 6 months old, and 27% at 1 year old. This is a significant increase from 2000, when these statistics were 35% and 16%, respectively. The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends mothers breastfeed their infants for 1 year, and the World Health Organization suggests that children be breastfed for 2 years.

These improvements are noteworthy, given the benefits children receive from being breastfed. Research shows that infants who are breastfed are less likely to experience ear infections and diarrhea than those that are not. Additionally, adults who were breastfed as babies are less likely to suffer from diabetes and obesity. However, these advantages are not always well publicized and some hospitals to do not promote breastfeeding.

In fact, about 25% of hospitals and birth centers provide formula to mothers whose babies are successfully breastfeeding, and around 75% of hospitals include formula in packs given to all new mothers. In addition to promoting breastfeeding, the CDC reports two specific actions hospitals can take to increase the number of women who breastfeed. The first is allowing new infants to “room in” with their mothers. In 2011, 37% of hospitals reported having babies stay in the hospital room with their mothers for 23 hours a day, which is up from 30% in 2000, but still leaves room for improvement. Hospitals should also ensure “skin to skin” contact between mothers and babies after birth, which help babies keep warm and successfully breastfeed. According to the CDC, about 54% of hospitals have infants skin-to-skin with mothers.

By taking the steps outlined above and increasing publicity about the benefits of breastfeeding, hospitals and public health officials can help increase the amount of women who breastfeed and the length that babies are breastfed for.

For more information and resources about breastfeeding from the U.S. Office on Women's Health, click here.

Source: Shute, Nancy. “More Moms Are Breast-Feeding, But Many Babies Still Miss Out.” NPR. 31 July 2013.

Posted by on March 28, 2013 - 8:39am

Medela, a company focused on women and infant health, has announced a call for nominations for its Breastfeeding Hall of Excellence, a program created to recognize individuals who help moms successfully nurse and reach their breastfeeding goals. Those eligible  include lactation consultants, professionals and community advocates, including bloggers. Inductees will be awarded grants to support breastfeeding-related research, education and charities. Nominations will be accepted online March 26 – April 30, 2013. Full program guidelines and nomination forms can be found at

The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

Posted by on January 18, 2013 - 10:28am

These days, many new mothers return to the workplace with a briefcase in one hand—and a breast pump kit in the other.

For those moms working outside the home who are breastfeeding their babies (and those who travel or for other reasons can’t be with their child throughout the day), using a breast pump to “express” (extract) their milk is a must.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the safety and effectiveness of these medical devices.

New mothers may have a host of questions about choosing a breast pump. What type of breast pump should they get? How do they decide ahead of time which pump will fit in best with their daily routines? Are pumps sold “used” safe?

To learn more, click HERE.

Posted by on August 20, 2012 - 6:57am

A clear majority of MedPage Today readers do not want hospitals to lock up infant formula as a way to encourage new moms to breastfeed.

The 1,600-plus vote tally was 72% against and 28% for hospitals keeping infant formula out of sight. The prompt for their survey was a story about some 27 New York City hospitals that plan to stow away the formula in an effort to promote breastfeeding.    The voluntary program was launched by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

These hospitals might be acting in good faith, but whether they are going about it in the right way is up for debate, according to reader comments.   "There is a HUGE difference between educating as to the benefits of breastfeeding versus creating a negative barrier to access. One way promotes choice and the other looks like tyranny," said one commenter.

However, another reader said the lock-up requirement is "perfectly reasonable."   She went on to say that it's "sad that it is necessary," but by doing so perhaps nurses would think twice before going for the formula.

Many readers agreed that breastfeeding is best for babies and that new mothers should be taught breastfeeding in the hospital. But many also drew the line at the suggestion of locking up the formula.

What do you think?   After all, baby formula is not a controlled substance....hmmm.


Posted by on February 25, 2011 - 10:20am

Breast-feeding may help reduce some long-term negative side effects of cancer treatment in women who survived childhood cancer, according to a new study.

The findings suggest that making women aware of the benefits of breast-feeding should be part of routine recommendations for a post-cancer healthy lifestyle, said Susan W. Ogg and colleagues from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

The researchers reviewed studies that examined whether women can successfully breast-feed after treatment for childhood cancer, how childhood cancer treatment affects women's health in general over the long term and whether breast-feeding might reduce both the risk and impact of treatment-related toxicity in cancer survivors.

The analysis revealed that breast-feeding can have a positive impact on a mother's bone mineral density, metabolic syndrome risk factors, cardiovascular disease and secondary tumors -- health factors that are all negatively affected by childhood cancer.

"Alongside advice to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, abstain from smoking, use suitable sun protection, practice safe sex and take part in regular physical activity, women who have survived childhood cancer and are physically able to breast-feed should be actively encouraged to do so to help protect them against the many lasting effects of cancer treatment," the researchers concluded.

The study findings were released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

About 80 percent of U.S. children and teens diagnosed with childhood cancer now survive, but many face major health challenges stemming from the cancer itself or its treatment. These challenges include impaired growth and development, organ dysfunction, reproductive difficulties and risk of cancer recurrence.

SOURCE: Journal of Cancer Survivorship, news release, Jan. 20, 2011

By Robert Preidt