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Breastfeeding and Epidural Anesthesia


Does epidural anesthesia have any sort of effect on breastfeeding? A recent systematic review analyzed published research studies on epidural anesthesia and breastfeeding. They included 23 articles, all of which were written in English, did not include subjects undergoing cesarean births, reported effects of epidural analgesia during labor, and included breastfeeding outcomes.

According to the authors, previous research has shown that epidural anesthesia is a risk factor for prolonged second stage of labor, instrumentation during labor, use of oxytocin during labor, lower maternal blood pressure, and maternal fever, among others.

On the other hand, epidural anesthesia reduces pain during labor, which reduces mother’s physiologic stress.

What do you think the authors concluded regarding the effect of epidural anesthesia on breastfeeding?


  1. Infants of mothers who received epidural anesthesia are less likely to initiate breastfeeding in the first hour.
  2. Women who receive epidural anesthesia are more likely to report breastfeeding problems at 6 weeks postpartum.
  3. Infants of mothers who received epidural anesthesia have poorer latch and feeding skills at the time of hospital discharge.
  4. A, B and C
  5. No conclusions could be reached

What do you think?

For the answer, please click here.