What happens when breastfeeding mothers take antibiotics?

  • News
  • 10 Sept. 2021

Despite 70% of breastfeeding women taking some form of medication, 90% of those medications do not include appropriate safety or other information on their labels – largely because they were not tested in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine aim to change that, thanks to a USD 6.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to launch a collaborative research Center of Excellence in Therapeutics (CET) as part of the new US Maternal and Pediatric Precision in Therapeutics (MPRINT) Hub.

UC San Diego Health, together with Vanderbilt University, Indiana University and Ohio State University, will establish the NIH-funded Hub as a national resource for knowledge and expertise in maternal and pediatric pharmacology. The team at UC San Diego School of Medicine will initially focus their investigations on how maternal antibiotics impact breastmilk composition and how components in breastmilk alter safety and efficacy of these important pediatric therapeutic agents.

"Antibiotics are just one example of the massive knowledge gaps we are facing when it comes to medication use during pregnancy and breastfeeding,” says Dr. Lars Bode, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence (MOMI CORE) at UC San Diego. “There is an urgent need for research at this very intersection of maternal and infant health, so that physicians and healthcare providers can make data-informed recommendations to pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is simply unacceptable that often, the default recommendation is to stop breastfeeding just because we don’t have sufficient data. We need to do better."

MOMI CORE will host a comprehensive milk analytics core as part of UC San Diego’s CET. Dr. Bode envisions the core’s specialized knowledge, skills and technologies will serve as a comprehensive milk analytics resource not only to UC San Diego’s CET, but also to other MPRINT centers and the global biomedical research community at large.

MOMI CORE was established in 2017. It is one of five independent breastfeeding research centers that FLRF has endowed 2013.

Interested in keeping current on MOMI CORE and related news? Sign up for our newsletter.