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Breastfeeding 'does not affect multiple sclerosis relapses'

Breastfeeding 'does not affect multiple sclerosis relapses'
7th July 2011

Breastfeeding does not protect against relapses of multiple sclerosis, new research has indicated, in spite of previous studies suggesting that it may play a protective role.

Emilio Portaccio, managing director of the University of Florence, said breastfeeding should not be encouraged by doctors to prevent relapses of the condition as there is no evidence to support this.

A study of 302 pregnancies found no significant positive or negative effect on multiple sclerosis relapses, and found the only predictors of postpartum relapses occurred in the year before and during pregnancy.

"Since it is not considered safe for women to take MS drugs while breastfeeding, breastfeeding may not be feasible for these women who may need to resume treatment to avoid relapses soon after giving birth," said Dr Portaccio.

A separate study at the University of British Columbia, reported last month, found that pregnant women with multiple sclerosis carry no additional risk to having healthy babies.

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