The associate professor of neurology and director of the Women With Epilepsy Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine spoke about the findings of the MONEAD study and their implications for women with epilepsy.
“The take-home message of our study is that while women with epilepsy were less likely to start breastfeeding than women without epilepsy, women with epilepsy were just as likely as women without epilepsy to be successful at breastfeeding over time.”
Elizabeth Gerard, MD, associate professor of neurology and director of the Women With Epilepsy Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted the MONEAD study, a continuation of the prior NEAD study of women with epilepsy.
Their data suggested that despite the benefits of breastfeeding, women with epilepsy are less likely to breastfeed their children than those without epilepsy. Although, compared to what prior literature—including the precursor NEAD study—has shown, the rates of breastfeeding have gone up drastically in this population. Gerard told NeurologyLive that this increase is likely slightly exaggerated compared to the real world due to the trial taking place mostly at academic sites.
Additionally, Gerard shared that while the rates differed, those who began breastfeeding continued to do so for an average of about 9 months, with no differences in length between women with or without epilepsy. Gerard spoke to how this is an exciting time, and what goes into making the decision to breastfeed.
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Gerard E, Pennell P. Breastfeeding in women with epilepsy in the MONEAD study. Presented at: American Epilepsy Society 2019 Meeting; December 7—10; Baltimore, Maryland. Abstract 1.250.