During pregnancy, your doctor will list all of the medications that you should or shouldn't be taking if you want to have a healthy baby. Just as there are strict rules involving what you can eat, drink and what medications you can take while pregnant, the same is true while you're breastfeeding. When you breastfeed, your baby is getting many of the same nutrients that you put into your body, so it's important to take good care of yourself during this time.
Many women who have had a heart, lung or liver transplant may be concerned about their ability to breastfeed their child if they are on the immunosuppressant drug tacrolimus. According to the Mayo Clinic, this drug is prescribed to keep the body from rejecting its new organ. Because this drug suppresses the immune system, many pregnant women have been afraid to breastfeed while taking it because they are concerned that it could negatively impact their baby's immune system.
However, according to a recent study conducted by scientists from King's College London, women on this drug should feel free to breastfeed, since the drug does not appear to have an effect on babies.
Good news for many mothers
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, almost 80 Americans receive an organ transplant each day. Many of the women who have these transplants may want to have children and breastfeed them, which is why it's important that their medications don't impact their babies during the breastfeeding process.
The scientists discovered that babies born to mothers taking tacrolimus had levels of the drug in their system at birth, however, levels fell as the liver cleared the drug. The researchers then examined levels of the drug in the blood of babies who were breastfed by mothers taking tacrolimus compared to those who were given the bottle. They found that the drug cleared the system of both sets of babies in two week.
"Although more studies are needed on the safety of tacrolimus, the findings would suggest that women who wish to breastfeed should not be discouraged from doing so," said researcher Kate Bramham, Ph.D. "The advantages [of breastfeeding], particularly in preterm infants, need to be weighed against the theoretical disadvantages of minimal ingestion through breast milk."
These findings are positive news for expectant mothers who have had an organ transplant.
Do you have any advice for expectant mothers who have gone through a medical issue such as cancer or an organ transplant? Comment here!