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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Mar;21(3):264-72. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2011.3083. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Failed lactation and perinatal depression: common problems with shared neuroendocrine mechanisms?

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  • 1Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA. astuebe@med.unc.ed

Abstract

In the early postpartum period, mother and infant navigate a critical neuroendocrine transition from pregnancy to lactation. Two major clinical problems that occur during this transition are failed lactation and perinatal mood disorders. These disorders often overlap in clinical settings. Failed lactation is common. Although all major medical organizations recommend 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding, only 13% of women in the United States achieve this recommendation. Perinatal mood disorders affect 10% of mothers, with substantial morbidity for mother and child. We hypothesize that shared neuroendocrine mechanisms contribute to both failed lactation and perinatal mood disorders. In this hypothesis article, we discuss data from both animal models and clinical studies that suggest neuroendocrine mechanisms that may underlie these two disorders. Research to elucidate the role of these underlying mechanisms may identify treatment strategies both to relieve perinatal depression and to enable women to achieve their infant feeding goals.

PMID:
22204416
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3298672
Free PMC Article
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