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Breastfeeding helps reduce relapse rate after birth

A new analysis of studies has found that breastfeeding may help protect women from having as many relapses from multiple sclerosis (MS) than if they do not breastfeed, or supplement regularly with formula.

Some women stop their treatment when they have a baby, and this recent review found that the rate of relapse is as high as 30% in the three months after giving birth.

The report by researchers at the University of California analysed data from 24 studies, published between 1980 and 2018, which included 2,974 women. All studies included a comparator group and were rated as having either moderate or serious risk of bias.

Breastfeeding was found to be associated overall with a 37% lower risk of relapse compared with those that didn’t breastfeed.

Researchers warned that although breastfeeding does reduce relapse, the risk of relapsing is still high and more research is needed to identify further strategies to prevent them.

As each drug is different, it’s advised you discuss a treatment plan and your options with your MS nurse or neurologist if you are planning to have a baby, or breastfeeding.