Ask Dr. Hale Archive

Dear Dr. Hale,

Several of the moms I see have Celiac Disease.  Are there any studies that show that breastfeeding will protect the infant from getting Celiac Disease?

Concerned LC

Dear Concerned LC,

Celiac disease (CD) occurs as a result of immunological responses in the intestinal mucosa to gluten found in many cereals. Various other factors including genetic, environmental, and dietary content may contribute to the development of CD.

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Dear Dr. Hale,

Recently, mothers have been asking me whether the new drug,“bath salts,” are okay to take when breastfeeding.  I know they are bad, but can you give me some research to share with moms?

Concerned LC

Dear Concerned,

Recently, there has been a dramatic rise in the abuse of substances called "Bath Salts" in the USA.  “Bath Salts” is an informal name for a new generation of designer drugs that contain substituted cathinone stimulant substances, like mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, which clinically act like amphetamines. These drug substances, whose structures differ slightly from the amphetamine family, nevertheless stimulate the same receptors sites and have been designed to act like the amphetamines. Due to their altered structure, they can avoid coverage by the FDA law.

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Dear Dr. Hale,

Many moms ask me if breastfeeding protects babies from getting ear infections (otitis media).  What’s the latest on this topic?

Concerned LC

Dear Concerned,

Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear space, behind the eardrum (tympanic membrane). It is characterized by pain, dizziness, and partial loss of hearing. The prevalence of early-onset otitis media (OM) and repeated OM continues to increase among preschool children in the United States.1

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Dear Dr. Hale,

An infant at my clinic recently contracted MRSA.  Mothers are worried about transferring MRSA via their breastmilk.  Is anyone doing research on MRSA?  Is it safe to breastfeed if a mom is a carrier?  Also, what is the difference between MSSA and MRSA?

Worried LC

Dear Worried LC,

It appears that colonization from mother to child due to close contact may be as prevalent as transmission via the mother’s milk.  Until more is known about the transmission of MSSA and MRSA, there is no substantive reason to withhold breastmilk from mothers who are carriers of MSSA or MRSA.

MSSA stands for Methicillin Sensitive Staphylococcus Aureus. MSSA is a type of bacteria on the skin surface.  MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.  MRSA is the antiobiotic resistant form of this bacteria.

Here is a synopsis of recent studies on MSSA and MRSA:

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Dear Dr. Hale,

If a baby is breastfed, can this have any impact on depression in adulthood? 

Curious LC

Dear Curious,

Major depression is a disease with certain characteristic signs and symptoms that can interfere with the ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy pleasurable activities. Disabling episodes of major depression can occur once or a number of times during a lifetime.

A recent study has suggested that a history of not being breastfed may be associated with a higher risk of subsequent major depression in adulthood.1 In this study of 52 female and male adults with a diagnosis of major depression, there were 106 healthy controls who never suffered depression. The authors found that 72% (61 of 84) subjects that had never reported depression were breastfed. While less than half (45.8% - 22 of 48) of the patients with depression had been breastfed.

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Dear Dr. Hale,

Many of my pregnant clients are really into exercise.  As they are getting closer to delivery, they are starting to be concerned that exercise may cause preterm births?  What do you think?  Is it safe to exercise right up to delivery?

Curious LC

Dear Curious LC,

Current medical practice recommends that pregnant women should most assuredly engage in some sort of exercise regimen while pregnant. Yet what is the effect of exercise on pregnancy? Exercising during pregnancy is good for the mother; there is no doubt about it. Pregnant women who exercise tend to have reduced risk of obesity, gestational diabetes, hypertension, and preeclampsia. However, the effects on the fetus are unclear.1,2

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Dear Dr. Hale,

A baby in my practice recently died from SIDS.  The parents are devastated.  They were formula feeding the baby and are wondering if breastfeeding might have prevented the death.  Do you have any scientific information on this that I can share with the parents?

Sad LC

Dear Sad LC,

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby, usually during sleep. It is also called as crib death. It is the leading cause of postneonatal death in developed countries and the eighth leading cause of years of potential life lost.

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Dear Dr. Hale,

One of my breastfeeding mothers recently came down with a Cyclospora infection.  What causes it and is the medication used to treat it okay to take if you are breastfeeding?

Worried LC

Dear Worried LC,

Recently in the USA 378 laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection have been reported to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Reports are from the health departments of 16 different states. Most cases were reported in Iowa, Texas, and Nebraska.

Cyclospora Cayetanensis is a small parasite that causes an intestinal infection called Cyclosporiasis. Infection occurs following the ingestion of contaminated food or water. The states of Iowa and Nebraska have announced that their analysis indicates that the outbreak in those states is linked to salad mix.

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Dear Dr. Hale, 

I know you do research on breastfeeding mothers taking drugs.  Are you doing any research projects right now?  What type of moms are you looking for?  What will the mom have to do if she agrees to help with the research?

Wants to Help LC

Dear Wants to Help,

I'm currently collecting samples from breastfeeding mothers taking the following drugs:  

•    Anti cholesterol drugs (Lipitor, Crestor, Simvastatin)

•    Aspirin or plavix

•    Mesalamine (Rowasa, Canasa, Lialda, etc.)

•    Montelukast (Singulair)

Moms taking these medications can register at http://infantrisk.com/research/

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Dear Dr. Hale,

Summer is here and my pregnant and breastfeeding moms want to know if it is okay to use sunscreen.  Does the skin absorb sunscreen?  Is it safe for fetuses and breastfeeding babies?

Curious LC

 

Dear Curious LC,

Sunscreen is safe to use during pregnancy, and it is actually recommended for all women exposed to direct sunlight for more than 20 minutes a day. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends for pregnant women to protect their skins from the sun by wearing sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or more.

Also, approximately 70% of pregnant women develop chloasma or “ mask of pregnancy,” which is characterized by dark brown areas around the eyes, nose, and cheeks. In these women, sun exposure will darken these marks. Aside from sunscreen, it is recommended to wear a wide brimmed hat when out in the sun.1

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