Posted by: Mary | 2013/01/24

Tegretol and breastfeeding

Good day,
I am currently 26 weeks pregnant with my first child.
I am using tegretol because I am petimal epileptic. My neurologist put me on tegretol prior to conception, as he said from all the anticonvulstion drugs, tegretol was the safest.
So far my pregnancy is going very well. Baby is healthy and very lively. I would love to breastfeed when he is born, but according to websites, tegretol passes through breastmilk and may be harmful to the baby. I also asked my neurologist and he said that it might be better to give the baby formula, although he did not want to make the call. I am so unsure. I so want to breastfeed, but on the other hand I dont want to put my child in any danger.
Is tegretol ok when breastfeeding or should I rather bottlefeed?


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Posted by: mary | 2013/01/25

Thank you so much for your mail. Will be contacting them immediately.

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Posted by: Purple | 2013/01/24


Its worrying when we have health concerns of our own and we also want whats best for our baby.

The good news is that most medications pass into the breastmilk in really small amounts. Also, where one medicine is not safe for use, often there is another one that is safe. Sometimes it takes pointing out to the doctor how very important breastfeeding is to you and specifically requesting a medicine compatible with breastfeeding.

The book that most doctors and pharmacists use for looking up medicine safety in breastfeeding contains information supplied by the pharmeceutical companies - and they don''t want to get sued so for the most part they just state that a medicine is unsafe for breastfeeding.

There is however a book written by Thomas Hale which contains information on medicine safety during breastfeeding - how much of a drug passes into the breastmilk, what the half life of the drug is, how it might affect baby. There are some doctors and pharmacists with this book, but its use is not that widespread.

You may like to contact an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) or La Leche League. IBCLC''s all have a copy of this book (an IBCLC is a specialist in human lactation). Some La Leche League Leaders have copies, and most can source the information if needed. They won''t provide medical advice, but will read to you what Hales says on the medicine.

You can then weigh this information up and decide what you feel would be best to do.

There are risks associated with formula feeding, though there is a lot of pressure never to mention these in case mothers feel guilty for not breastfeeding.

You can find a local la leche league leader on w w w d o t lalecheleague d o t o r g and using the drop down menu to select south africa. There are leaders around most of the country. They also run support groups once a month and you may wish to attend while pregnant as it really helps get breastfeeding off to a good start (knowledge is power). They''ve been very helpful to me in my breastfeeding journey.

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