Last update Oct. 29, 2023

Sheehan´s syndrome; Maternal Hypopituitarism

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.

Sheehan's syndrome or hypopituitarism is caused by severe postpartum hemorrhage with maternal shock resulting in hypoperfusion, necrosis and thrombotic infarction of the pituitary. Hypopituitarism can also occur after severe trauma and after surgery for pituitary masses. Secretion of all pituitary hormones, including prolactin, is absent or deficient. Breast involution occurs, lactation fails and menstruation does not resume. It may occur in 1 or 2 in 10,000 deliveries. (Lawrence 2016 p577)

Depending on the degree of destruction of the gland lactation may be possible. (Pineyro 2022, Aulinas 2022) 

Cases of successful lactation with hypopituitarism have been described based on maternal desire, daily nasal spray oxytocin administration, and frequent milk expression. In one case the mother initiated milk production at 2 weeks and was able to breastfeed her infant one year. (Lawrence 2016 p677).

Note: we speak here of high risk, not because there is a risk for the mother or the baby, but because it is difficult to achieve lactation in the absence of prolactin. 

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

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.


Sheehan´s syndrome; Maternal Hypopituitarism belongs to this group or family:


  1. Pineyro MM, Diaz L, Guzzetti M, Risso M, Pereda J. Acute Sheehan's Syndrome Presenting with Hyponatremia Followed by a Spontaneous Pregnancy. Case Rep Endocrinol. 2022 Nov 25;2022:9181365. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  2. Aulinas A, Stantonyonge N, García-Patterson A, Adelantado JM, Medina C, Espinós JJ, López E, Webb SM, Corcoy R. Hypopituitarism and pregnancy: clinical characteristics, management and pregnancy outcome. Pituitary. 2022 Apr;25(2):275-284. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  3. Lawrence RA, Lawrence RM. Breastfeeding. A guide for the medical profession. Eighth Edition. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2016

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