Is it safe to express milk before giving birth?

Some women, especially with diabetes, are recommended to express milk while still pregnant and to save it for their newborn, yet no evidence exists for this practice.

A study published in today’s Lancet aimed to determine the safety and efficacy of antenatal expressing in women with diabetes in pregnancy.

pregnancy-466129_1920 The study found that expressing while pregnant is safe for women with diabetes in low-risk pregnancies in late pregnancy (from around 36 weeks). After studying over 600 women, the authors found no increase in early births or admissions to neonatal intensive care. However, one in four women couldn’t collect any colostrum.

Before the trial, researchers had only run three small studies of expressing colostrum while pregnant, and no randomised trials for women without diabetes.

The authors advice to women with questions about expressing while pregnant is to ask their health care professional about their individual situation.

Read more at The Conversation

Full reference: Forster, Della A et al. | Advising women with diabetes in pregnancy to express breastmilk in late pregnancy (Diabetes and Antenatal Milk Expressing [DAME]): a multicentre, unblinded, randomised controlled trial | The Lancet , Volume 389 , Issue 10085 , 2204 – 2213

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