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Breastfeeding and epidural analgesia during labour

Devroe, Sarah; De Coster, Johan; Van de Velde, Marc

Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology:
doi: 10.1097/ACO.0b013e32832a1d1b
Obstetric and gynecological anesthesia: Edited by Marc Van de Velde

Purpose of review: To evaluate the effect of epidural analgesia on breastfeeding.

Recent findings: Alarming messages were sent out following a retrospective study indicating that epidural analgesia caused more breastfeeding failures. The limitations of this study were reviewed as well as the critical importance of good lactation support.

Summary: There is no good evidence that epidural analgesia causes reduced breastfeeding success. Good lactation support is critical.

Author Information

Department of Anesthesiology, University Hospitals Gasthuisberg, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Herestraat, Leuven, Belgium

Correspondence to Marc Van de Velde, MD, PhD, Director Obstetric Anesthesia and Extra Muros Anesthesia, Department of Anesthesiology, University Hospitals Gasthuisberg, Herestraat, Leuven, Belgium Tel: +32 16 34 42 70; fax: +32 16 34 42 45; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.