Women on antidepressants more successful at breastfeeding if they keep taking medication

University of Adelaide researchers have found that women on antidepressants are more successful at breastfeeding their babies if they keep taking the medication, compared with women who quit antidepressants because of concerns about their babies' health.

These results have just been presented this week at the 18th Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ) Annual Conference in Perth. Using data from the Danish National Birth Cohort in Denmark, researchers in the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute studied the outcomes of 368 women who were on antidepressants prior to becoming pregnant.

"We found that two thirds of the women (67%) stopped taking their antidepressant medication either after becoming pregnant or during breastfeeding," says Dr Luke Grzeskowiak from the Robinson Research Institute.

"A third of the women (33%) continued to take antidepressant medication throughout their pregnancy and while breastfeeding, and these women were much more successful at maintaining breastfeeding up to and beyond the recommended six months.

"In contrast, those women who had stopped taking antidepressants were also more likely to stop breastfeeding within the recommended six months."

Dr Grzeskowiak says the health benefits of continued breastfeeding greatly outweigh any perceived risk to the baby from antidepressant medication.

“This is a really important message ... on the balance of it, we believe that continuing to take antidepressant medication and maintaining regular breastfeeding will be the best outcome for both the baby and the mother”

"This is a really important message because we know that breastfeeding has immense benefits for the child and the mum herself, including a degree of protection against post-natal depression," he says.

"The amount of antidepressant medication that finds its way into a mother's breast milk is very low. On the balance of it, we believe that continuing to take antidepressant medication and maintaining regular breastfeeding will be the best outcome for both the baby and the mother."

Dr Grzeskowiak says many women struggle with decisions about what to do with medications both during pregnancy and lactation.

"If they're taking antidepressants, they should be supported and encouraged by family members, friends and healthcare professionals to continue with their medication, knowing that good breastfeeding outcomes are all-important for them and their child," he says.

This research was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Women's and Children's Hospital Foundation.


 

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Call for partners & husbands get involved!

FamilyHere at Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP), we have been working towards developing online resources and an information leaflet for the partners of mums who have suffered Postpartum Psychosis, offering information and support for them during an episode of PP.

Over 80 partners of APP members have completed a postal survey and 12 men have taken part in telephone interviews about their support needs during PP - thank you! Last year we held a small focus group with partners to develop an outline for our web resources and we have now produced draft web and leaflet content.

In March 2014, we are planning to hold a workshop for partners.  We are looking for partners who want to help us finalise our resources. We need partners to review and comment on the web and leaflet content, their design and presentation and ways that they can be promoted. We would also like partners to help us create a short videos aimed at other men in a similar situation, and photos / images to go alongside the web and leaflet materials.

The workshop will be a day session and is likely to be held on a Saturday at the University of Birmingham. Food will be provided and all transport expenses will be refunded. We hope it will be a great opportunity for partners to meet other partners who have been through similar experiences, and help us make the situation better for others in the future.

If you are a partner and you might be willing to consider coming along to this workshop or would like to use your IT, marketing or artistic skills to help us in any other way, please get in touch. It’s not a commitment at this stage, we aim to find out how many people might be interested in our workshop.

Email: ruth@www.app-network.org

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APP’s Chair wins prestigious psychiatric research prize

Ian Jones AwardAPP’s Chair, Professor Ian Jones of the National Centre for Mental Health at Cardiff University, has won a major prize at the fifth annual Royal College of Psychiatrists Awards.

Professor Jones, who is Deputy Director of the research centre and an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, was awarded the Psychiatric Academic / Researcher of the Year prize at a ceremony held at The Royal Society of Medicine in London.

The awards mark the highest level of achievement within psychiatry, and are designed to recognise and reward excellent practice in the field of mental health.

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Development of an inpatient care questionnaire; Can you help?

Kings College LondonKings College London is trialing a questionnaire assessing the perceptions of perinatal mental health services developed in collaboration with those who have used their services. The study: Improving the therapeutic environment on inpatient wards, requires patient contributions to the evidence base on inpatient care.

They require people to complete the survey and give feedback to enable them to fine-tune it before it is used in an upcoming nationwide trial investigating such services. Taking part will help develop an important tool that will be used to improve the care women receive in the future.

Can you help? It should only take 10 minutes and all results are anonymous.

If you are happy to complete an additional survey after 5-10 days’ time,  please enter your phone number at the end of the survey. After completing both surveys, you will be entered into a prize draw for a £100 Love to Shop voucher as a thank you.

Please read the Patient information sheet here»

Once you have read the patient information sheet, click here to complete the survey»

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Research study: The role of relationships in PP

Lancaster University

UPDATE: Recruitment of participants for this study is now closed. Thank you to everyone who kindly took part. We look forward to seeing the findings.

The role of relationships in Postpartum Psychosis (unusual experiences during the postpartum period)

  • Have you been given a diagnosis of Postpartum Psychosis (puerperal psychosis)? 
  • Would you be willing to talk about your relationships with important people in your life in relation to these experiences? 

I am a trainee clinical psychologist at Lancaster University and I am currently carrying out research into the experiences of women who have lived through a period of mental distress after childbirth, and their significant others. I want to learn about the role of relationships during and after this experience. I hope that my findings will help staff in Mother-and-Baby units to work with the families and friends of women and continue to improve the services that women receive.

I would like to talk to women who have experienced Postpartum Psychosis and someone important to them (you can choose who this is – perhaps it could be a partner, mother, sibling or friend?) Both of you would need to be 18 years old or over. If you fit the above criteria and are interested in sharing your experiences, please contact me to find out more.

Read the patient information sheet here»

Caroline Wyatt
Tel: 0785 251 6566
Email: c.wyatt@lancaster.ac.uk

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Specialist Mental Health Midwives - what they do & why they matter

Specialist Maternal Mental Health midwivesSpecialist Mental Health Midwives have a crucial role in effective perinatal mental health care. However, there are currently many maternity services without this important position, and where Specialist Mental Health Midwives do exist there are differences in their role, skills and experience.

This document produced by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance aims to help address this gap, by explaining why Specialist Mental Health Midwives are needed, and what they do. It is intended as a resource for maternity managers and commissioners looking to introduce or strengthen the Specialist Mental Health Midwife role in their local service. We hope that it will aid discussions and lead to improvements in local provision.

Read or download the full document here>

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Peer Support Training Workshop 2013

Peer Support Workshop 2013Eight volunteers with lived experience of PP came together from across the UK to attend a Peer Support workshop on 12th Oct. The day was momentous, memorable and a success on many levels. It was a real pleasure to meet and work with so many passionate and dedicated people. Thank you to everyone who gave up their free time and made the big effort to attend. We’re proud and grateful to further expand our PPTalk team with such a wonderful, inspirational group of volunteers!

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CALL for Evidence & Participation in Reference Group

Maternal Mental Health AllianceFor a study on the economic consequences of maternal mental health problems during the perinatal period conducted by PSSRU/LSE and Centre for Mental Health

As part of the Everyone's Business Campaign, London School of Economics (LSE) and Centre for Mental Health are to publish a report looking at the 'Economic Consequences of Maternal Mental Health Problems in the Perinatal Period'.

As a first step in this work, LSE & Centre for Mental Health have just issued a call for any information in this area, and in particular:

  • National and International studies which measure the outcomes of individuals exposed to perinatal mental health problems - including mothers, children and their partners.
  • Evidence on the (cost-) effectiveness of interventions or information about the cost of running a specific intervention.
  • Information about any other relevant studies that you are aware of.
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Bipolar and Pregnancy: what are the options?

Bipolar & pregnancy workshop Sept 2013Bipolar UK and APP staged a ‘Pregnancy and Childbirth Workshop’ for women with bipolar on September 20th.

More than two dozen women and two husbands attended the workshop held at the charity’s headquarters in Victoria, London, to discuss the often difficult decisions women with bipolar face when considering pregnancy.

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Pregnancy support group is NHS first for Cornwall

Great news for women in the South West: Cornwall gets its first perinatal mental health service - read this piece by Esmé Ashcroft in local paper The West Briton.

Anthony Harrison, The Angela Harrison Charitable Trust
Anthony Harrison, founder of The Angela Harrison Charitable Trust, at the launch of the new perinatal mental health service at Truro Health Park

Pregnancy support group is NHS first for Cornwall

CORNWALL'S first mental health service aimed at helping women before, during and after pregnancy was launched on Monday thanks to support from a local charity.

With the help of the Angela Harrison Charitable Trust, the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust launched the county's first perinatal mental health team to help women across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The new service supports women who have had previous experience or newly developed moderate to severe mental health needs, during and after pregnancy.

The perinatal mental health team aims to speed up the diagnosis of mental instability so women can be given support and help as early as possible.

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