Zoloft and Breast Feeding
Is it Safe for Your Baby?
Zoloft and breast feeding have been studied to determine how much gets into the mother’s milk and how much gets ingested by the baby. Generally speaking, the baby is exposed to only trace amounts of the medication. However, there are some things to consider if you are thinking about taking this drug including the Zoloft withdrawal symptoms that you and your baby may experience and the impact this med may have on your ability to lactate. Also, if you are still pregnant using Zoloft in pregnancy may cause harm to your baby.
In an article posted by the American Journal of Psychiatry in 2004 (161:1066-78) the authors reviewed 57 studies that were done identifying antidepressant levels in nursing mothers and their infants. The studies calculated the levels of the antidepressant drug in the mother’s breast milk and the amount ingested by the baby and found that the levels ingested by the baby are very small and inconsequential. If fact for sertraline (Zoloft), nortriptyline (Pamelor) and paroxetine (Paxil) only trace amounts were found. This is not the case for fluoxetine (Prozac), for example, where much higher concentrations were found in the infants.
Side Effects on Infants
When taking Zoloft common side effectscan occur. And, more importantly, when you stop taking Zoloft withdrawal symptoms can impact both you and your baby. According to the National Library of Medicine, there were 930 nursing mothers that took antidepressants while breastfeeding and 56% took them while they were pregnant as well. Most of the mom’s reported that their babies had not shown any withdrawal symptoms when they stopped taking the medication. However, 17% reported uncontrollable crying, 14% reported low body temperature, 15% noticed difficulty eating and/or sleeping.
Also, women who took the medications during both pregnancy and nursing were up to 8 times more likely to report withdrawal symptoms. So, if the baby was only exposed to the drug when they were nursing (not in utero) the side effects and potential for withdrawal symptoms dropped exponentially. Also important to note is that the baby’s weight gain over time was normal compared to other infants who were not exposed to the drug.
Potential Effects on Lactation
A very small study was done comparing 8 women taking the drug to 423 women who were not. It was determined that onset of lactation may be delayed when using an antidepressant compared to those that were not taking one. This may result in delayed feeding behavior in the infant.
I took Zoloft and breast feeding was not impacted. After the birth of my first daughter I had an onset of postpartum depression. My doctor prescribed the drug and told me it was her preferred antidepressant to prescribe because there were no known adverse effects expected with me or my daughter. I did not take it long because I was not that comfortable about what I might be exposing her to. However, I can say that while I was taking it I did not notice any problems. And, I did feel better and recover from my depression fairly quickly.
Based on my research, and personal experience, you can take Zoloft and breast feeding should not be impacted. However, it is important to talk about this with your doctor first before deciding to take this or any other medication. Also, when taking Zoloft sex may be impacted as well. So talk to your doctor about how this may impact you.
Also, consider the signs of postpartum depression before deciding that an antidepressant is an option for you.
Zoloft and Breast Feeding to Depression Test Home Page