Back to Journals » Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare » Volume 9

Health provider experiences with galactagogues to support breastfeeding: a cross-sectional survey

Authors Bazzano AN, Littrell L, Brandt A, Thibeau S, Thriemer K, Theall KP

Received 7 September 2016

Accepted for publication 15 October 2016

Published 17 November 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 623—630

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S121788

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Alessandra N Bazzano,1 Lisa Littrell,1 Amelia Brandt,1 Shelley Thibeau,2 Kamala Thriemer,3 Katherine P Theall1

1Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 2Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, LA, USA; 3MLT EpiConsult, Jingili, NT, Australia

Background: Exclusive breastfeeding for infants up to 6 months is widely recommended, yet breastfeeding rates are relatively low in the US. The most common reason women stop breastfeeding early is a perceived insufficiency of milk. Galactagogues are herbal and pharmaceutical products that can help increase milk supply; however, data on their efficacy and safety is limited. Lactation consultants, obstetricians, and other health providers are an important point of contact for breastfeeding women experiencing challenges with lactation. This study explored providers’ perceptions, experiences, and practices in relation to galactagogue recommendation.
Method:
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among a convenience sample of English-speaking health providers in the US who counsel breastfeeding women and their infants.
Results: More than 70% of respondents reported to recommend galactagogues. The most frequently recommended galactagogue was fenugreek with respondents indicating that they recommend it either ‘always’ (8.5%) or ‘most of the time’ (14.9%) and ‘sometimes’ (46.8%). More than 80% of the respondents indicated that galactagogues were useful for their clients and only one-third reported side effects. Reasons for refraining from recommending galactagogues were insufficient evidence of its efficacy and safety. Respondents reported a wide variety of sources of information used for their own education about galactagogues.
Discussion: Despite little evidence regarding safety and efficacy, some galactagogues are widely recommended and often perceived to be useful. However, concerns about their efficacy and safety remain. In order to assure both providers and users about safety and efficacy, more robust studies as well as better pharmacovigilance systems are needed.

Keywords: lactation, human milk, nutrition, clinical decision making, lactogenesis

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]

 

Other articles by this author:

Maternal experiences with and sources of information on galactagogues to support lactation: a cross-sectional study

Bazzano AN, Cenac L, Brandt AJ, Barnett J, Thibeau S, Theall KP

International Journal of Women's Health 2017, 9:105-113

Published Date: 27 February 2017

Factors associated with vitamin D status of low-income, hospitalized psychiatric patients: results of a retrospective study

Bazzano AN, Littrell L, Lambert S, Roi C

Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 2016, 12:2973-2980

Published Date: 15 November 2016

Stakeholder perceptions of misoprostol: a qualitative investigation

Bazzano AN, Jones L, Ngo TD

International Journal of Women's Health 2014, 6:389-393

Published Date: 8 April 2014