Last update: March 24, 2015

Maternal Depression

Low Risk probable for breastfeeding

Moderately safe.
Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended.
Read the Comment.

Postpartum depression is a very frequent condition (5% to 25% within the first postpartum year). If the mother is not treated harm effects on both the mother and the infant (psychomotor and growth delay) may occur.

Mothers who are treated with antidepressant medicaction are in need of stronger support for a higher risk of early breastfeeding failure.

Sudden or forced weaning may affect self-esteem of the mother.

In moderate or severe cases whenever a psychotherapeutic treatment fails other measures like the use of antidepressant drugs should be considered.

Most drugs used for treatment of depression are safe since they are hardly excreted into breast milk and they are not a cause of infant problems. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are most effective drugs to treat depression. Sertraline and Paroxetine are considered to be the safest. Also, Citalopram, Escitalopram, Dulexetine, Fluoxetine, and Fluvoxamine are considered safe. Antidepressant drugs like Velanfaxin, Moclobemide, Amitriptyline, Amoxapine, Clomipramine, Imipramine and Nortriptyline are safe while nursing.

Consult available information on a particular product at our web.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.


Maternal Depression belongs to this group or family:


  1. Venkatesh KK, Castro VM, Perlis RH, Kaimal AJ. Impact of antidepressant treatment during pregnancy on obstetric outcomes among women previously treated for depression: an observational cohort study. J Perinatol. 2017 Sep;37(9):1003-1009. Abstract
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  3. Sriraman NK, Melvin K, Meltzer-Brody S. ABM Clinical Protocol #18: Use of Antidepressants in Breastfeeding Mothers. Breastfeed Med. 2015 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. Sheikh M, Hantoushzadeh S, Shariat M, Farahani Z, Ebrahiminasab O. The efficacy of early iron supplementation on postpartum depression, a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Nutr. 2015 Abstract
  5. Adedinsewo DA, Fleming AS, Steiner M, Meaney MJ, Girard AW; MAVAN team. Maternal anxiety and breastfeeding: findings from the MAVAN (Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment) Study. J Hum Lact. 2014 Abstract
  6. Xu F, Li Z, Binns C, Bonello M, Austin MP, Sullivan E. Does infant feeding method impact on maternal mental health? Breastfeed Med. 2014 Abstract
  7. Stuebe AM, Horton BJ, Chetwynd E, Watkins S, Grewen K, Meltzer-Brody S. Prevalence and risk factors for early, undesired weaning attributed to lactation dysfunction. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2014 Abstract
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  9. Jain A, Tyagi P, Kaur P, Puliyel J, Sreenivas V. Association of birth of girls with postnatal depression and exclusive breastfeeding: an observational study. BMJ Open. 2014 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
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  11. Zubaran C, Foresti K. The correlation between breastfeeding self-efficacy and maternal postpartum depression in southern Brazil. Sex Reprod Healthc. 2013 Abstract
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  13. Stuebe AM, Grewen K, Meltzer-Brody S. Association between maternal mood and oxytocin response to breastfeeding. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  14. Northrup TF, Wootton SH, Evans PW, Stotts AL. Breastfeeding practices in mothers of high-respiratory-risk NICU infants: impact of depressive symptoms and smoking. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2013 Abstract
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  17. Kieviet N, Dolman KM, Honig A. The use of psychotropic medication during pregnancy: how about the newborn? Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  18. Rowe H, Baker T, Hale TW. Maternal medication, drug use, and breastfeeding. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013 Feb;60(1):275-94. Abstract
  19. Hübner-Liebermann B, Hausner H, Wittmann M. Recognizing and treating peripartum depression. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2012 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  20. Gorman JR, Kao K, Chambers CD. Breastfeeding among women exposed to antidepressants during pregnancy. J Hum Lact. 2012 Abstract
  21. Gagliardi L, Petrozzi A, Rusconi F. Symptoms of maternal depression immediately after delivery predict unsuccessful breast feeding. Arch Dis Child. 2012 Abstract
  22. Piteo AM, Yelland LN, Makrides M. Does maternal depression predict developmental outcome in 18 month old infants? Early Hum Dev. 2012 Abstract
  23. Ystrom E. Breastfeeding cessation and symptoms of anxiety and depression: a longitudinal cohort study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2012 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  24. Zauderer C, Davis W. Treating postpartum depression and anxiety naturally. Holist Nurs Pract. 2012 Abstract
  25. Tashakori A, Behbahani AZ, Irani RD. Comparison Of Prevalence Of Postpartum Depression Symptoms Between Breastfeeding Mothers And Non-breastfeeding Mothers. Iran J Psychiatry. 2012 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  26. Dennis CL, Gagnon A, Van Hulst A, Dougherty G. Predictors of breastfeeding exclusivity among migrant and Canadian-born women: results from a multi-centre study. Matern Child Nutr. 2012 Abstract
  27. Bell L, Lacombe M, Gallagher F, Ferland M, Couture ME. [The factors involved in the decision to stop breastfeeding early]. Soins Pediatr Pueric. 2012 Abstract
  28. Patil AS, Kuller JA, Rhee EH. Antidepressants in pregnancy: a review of commonly prescribed medications. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2011 Abstract
  29. Berle JO, Spigset O. Antidepressant Use During Breastfeeding. Curr Womens Health Rev. 2011 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  30. Nishioka E, Haruna M, Ota E, Matsuzaki M, Murayama R, Yoshimura K, Murashima S. A prospective study of the relationship between breastfeeding and postpartum depressive symptoms appearing at 1-5 months after delivery. J Affect Disord. 2011 Abstract
  31. Watkins S, Meltzer-Brody S, Zolnoun D, Stuebe A. Early breastfeeding experiences and postpartum depression. Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Abstract
  32. Davanzo R, Copertino M, De Cunto A, Minen F, Amaddeo A. Antidepressant drugs and breastfeeding: a review of the literature. Breastfeed Med. 2011 Abstract
  33. Field T. Postpartum depression effects on early interactions, parenting, and safety practices: a review. Infant Behav Dev. 2010 Abstract
  34. Hirst KP, Moutier CY. Postpartum major depression. Am Fam Physician. 2010 Abstract
  35. Earls MF; Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health American Academy of Pediatrics. Incorporating recognition and management of perinatal and postpartum depression into pediatric practice. Pediatrics. 2010 Abstract
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  38. Dennis CL, McQueen K. The relationship between infant-feeding outcomes and postpartum depression: a qualitative systematic review. Pediatrics. 2009 Abstract
  39. Fairlie TG, Gillman MW, Rich-Edwards J. High pregnancy-related anxiety and prenatal depressive symptoms as predictors of intention to breastfeed and breastfeeding initiation. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2009 Abstract
  40. di Scalea TL, Wisner KL. Pharmacotherapy of postpartum depression. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2009 Abstract
  41. Sharma V, Burt VK, Ritchie HL. Bipolar II postpartum depression: Detection, diagnosis, and treatment. Am J Psychiatry. 2009 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  42. Field T. Breastfeeding and antidepressants. Infant Behav Dev. 2008 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  43. Sharma V, Corpse CS. Case study revisiting the association between breastfeeding and postpartum depression. J Hum Lact. 2008 Abstract
  44. Dennis CL, Kingston D. A systematic review of telephone support for women during pregnancy and the early postpartum period. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2008 Abstract
  45. Pearlstein T. Perinatal depression: treatment options and dilemmas. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2008 Abstract
  46. Hasselmann MH, Werneck GL, Silva CV. Symptoms of postpartum depression and early interruption of exclusive breastfeeding in the first two months of life. Cad Saude Publica. 2008 Abstract
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  49. Dennis CL, McQueen K. Does maternal postpartum depressive symptomatology influence infant feeding outcomes? Acta Paediatr. 2007 Abstract
  50. Dennis CL, Hodnett E. Psychosocial and psychological interventions for treating postpartum depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Abstract
  51. Gentile S. SSRIs in pregnancy and lactation: emphasis on neurodevelopmental outcome. CNS Drugs. 2005 Abstract
  52. Groër MW. Differences between exclusive breastfeeders, formula-feeders, and controls: a study of stress, mood, and endocrine variables. Biol Res Nurs. 2005 Abstract
  53. Hatton DC, Harrison-Hohner J, Coste S, Dorato V, Curet LB, McCarron DA. Symptoms of postpartum depression and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 2005 Abstract
  54. Tschudin S, Lapaire O. [Antidepressants and pregnancy]. Ther Umsch. 2005 Abstract
  55. Berle JØ, Steen VM, Aamo TO, Breilid H, Zahlsen K, Spigset O. Breastfeeding during maternal antidepressant treatment with serotonin reuptake inhibitors: infant exposure, clinical symptoms, and cytochrome p450 genotypes. J Clin Psychiatry. 2004 Abstract
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  58. Rubin ET, Lee A, Ito S. When breastfeeding mothers need CNS-acting drugs. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2004 Abstract
  59. Weissman AM, Levy BT, Hartz AJ, Bentler S, Donohue M, Ellingrod VL, Wisner KL. Pooled analysis of antidepressant levels in lactating mothers, breast milk, and nursing infants. Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  60. Hendrick V, Smith LM, Hwang S, Altshuler LL, Haynes D. Weight gain in breastfed infants of mothers taking antidepressant medications. J Clin Psychiatry. 2003 Abstract
  61. Taj R, Sikander KS. Effects of maternal depression on breast-feeding. J Pak Med Assoc. 2003 Abstract
  62. Henderson JJ, Evans SF, Straton JA, Priest SR, Hagan R. Impact of postnatal depression on breastfeeding duration. Birth. 2003 Abstract
  63. Stuart S, O'Hara MW, Gorman LL. The prevention and psychotherapeutic treatment of postpartum depression. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2003 Abstract
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  65. Seyfried LS, Marcus SM. Postpartum mood disorders. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2003 Abstract
  66. Gjerdingen D. The effectiveness of various postpartum depression treatments and the impact of antidepressant drugs on nursing infants. J Am Board Fam Pract. 2003 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  67. O'Hara MW, Stuart S, Gorman LL, Wenzel A. Efficacy of interpersonal psychotherapy for postpartum depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2000 Abstract
  68. Abou-Saleh MT, Ghubash R, Karim L, Krymski M, Bhai I. Hormonal aspects of postpartum depression. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1998 Abstract
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