A doctor will commonly prescribe Zoloft to aid people or pregnant women in dealing with the symptoms of anxiety, disorder or depression. This medication is considered to be safe but there are concerns when it comes to breastfeeding while using Zoloft. It’s not that easy for someone to make a decision about taking depression medication while breastfeeding, since you may have to weigh the benefits of treating the symptoms against leaving the illness untreated as well as choosing not to breast feed your child. This is such a complicated decision that should carefully be determined due to its complexity that varies with each case. Thus when it comes to Zoloft and breastfeeding, it’s advisable for any mother to discuss the situation or condition in detail with her doctor, her pediatrician as well as her partner.

Is It Safe to Take Zoloft While Breastfeeding?

For many expectant mothers, there is the compatibility to take into account concerning Zoloft and breastfeeding. Zoloft is just one of the antidepressants that are considered safe to use during breast feeding. Sertraline, which is the main component in Zoloft, is usually very low in breast milk as compared to other antidepressants that are used by breast feeding women. In fact, this substance is quite low to be detected in the child’s blood. Demethylsertraline, a chemical which enables the body to metabolize sertraline, is found in very low levels in the blood stream of a child. According to most doctors, Zoloft is a safe and a better medication to take especially when breastfeeding since it does not pose any great risk to your child.

The level of Zoloft in breast milk

Numerous studies have been conducted to determine the specific amount that can be contained in breast milk when a mother uses Zoloft. In one such research study involving 15 mothers taking Zoloft, their milk was monitored and it was found that the infants received only about 0.5 percent of the average or standard weight-adjusted dose.

Zoloft has very low or significant transfer rate to breast milk, for example, 17-173 ug/liter in mothers when taken up to 150 mg/day. In a study which was conducted on 11 mothers on Zoloft, it was undetectable in 7 out of the 11 mother’s milk; the infant’s serum showed no detectable Zoloft presence and it was minimal in the other mothers. Two more studies involving one and three pairs of mothers and infants were conducted. The Zoloft proved to be undetectable in the plasma of the entire four infants. The major theoretical concern, however, lies in the fact that some babies will rarely gain weight faster, especially when they are breastfed by mothers who use Zoloft. It’s important to monitor the weight gain and incase of anything, you should be ready to change the dosage to limited amounts.

What Are the Side Effects of Zoloft While Breastfeeding?

Speaking of Zoloft and breastfeeding, several things shall be taken into consideration. First is that you may experience some side effects when you are taking this medication or when you stop it. Zoloft withdrawal symptoms kick in impacting both you and your baby. According to National Library of Medicine, 930 mothers took antidepressants while breastfeeding and out of the total, 56 percent had been taking them while pregnant. Most of the nursing mothers said that their babies never showed any sign of withdrawal symptoms after they stopped taking the medication. However, out of these mothers, 14 percent reported low body temperature, 17% reported uncontrollable crying and 15% noticed difficulty sleeping or eating in their babies.

In addition, women or mothers who took the medication during both nursing and pregnancy were eight times more likely to report withdrawal symptoms. However, the side effects and the withdrawal potential decreased exponentially, if the baby was exposed to this drug during nursing. The baby’s weight gain also seemed to be normal as compared to babies who were not exposed to the drug.

In another case, a small study was conducted comparing 8 women taking the drug to 423 women who were not taking the drug. It was established that the onset of lactation can be delayed when a mother is using antidepressant as compared to those not using it. This can lead to delayed feeding habit in an infant.

What Should You Do Before Taking Zoloft While Breastfeeding?

It’s good for women who are taking this medication to consult with their doctor before they begin to breast feed their baby. There could be alternative drugs such as Nortiyptyline or Paroxetine that may pose less risk to their infants. In one of the studies related to this, mothers who were taking Zoloft experienced or had a delay in activation of milk secretion that led to delayed feeding habits in their infants. When this happens, the baby’s weight will automatically reduce, increasing the chance for postpartum depression in mothers as well as decreased bonding of mother and child. If possible, it’s good to consult the medical doctor before the child is born. There are no known long-term negative effects of Zoloft in regard to breast feeding in infants, but consulting your doctor is very important in case of any adverse effects.

What Else Can You Do to Manage Postnatal Depression While Breastfeeding?

1. Seek Support

First and foremost, you need to know and recognise the problem as well as take reputable action to deal with it.Your partner, friends as well as your family can be of great importance in giving you that support. You should open up and talk to those who are close to you about your feelings. You can also join a self-help group which can be of great benefit in giving you advice on postnatal depression.

2. Exercise

When you exercise regularly, it will relieve your depression and this has been proven as a fact. Your doctor may refer you to a fitness trainer who can help with training and the exercises you need to undertake which are helpful in relieving depression.

3. Psychological Treatments

In the case of mild postnatal depression, therapies will always be recommended as a first line of treatment as long as there are no previous mental health problems or conditions. Some of these therapies include guided self-help, talking therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy and others.