Breastfeeding initiation among women with preeclampsia with and without severe features

Cordero, L.*, Stenger, M.R., Landon, M.B., Nankervis, C.A. | JNPM 2021;


BACKGROUND: Timely delivery and magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) are mainstay in the treatment of preeclampsia with severe features (PWSF). Premature delivery, severity of illness and mother-infant separation may increase the risk for breastfeeding (BF) initiation failure.

OBJECTIVE: To compare BF initiation among women with late-onset PWSF for women with late-onset preeclampsia without severe features (WOSF). METHODS:Retrospective study of 158 women with PWSF and 104 with WOSF who delivered at ≥34 weeks. Intention to BF, formula feed (FF) or partially BF was declared prenatally. At discharge, exclusive BF included direct BF or direct BF with expressed breast milk (EBM).

RESULTS: PWSF and WOSF groups were similar in age, race, and obstetric history. PWSF and WSOF differed in primiparity (65 & 51%), late preterm births (73 vs 15%), admission to NICU (44 &17%) and mother (5 & 4d) and infant (6 & 3d) hospital stay. Both groups were similar in intention to BF (80 & 84%), to FF (16 & 13%) and to partially BF (5 & 5%). At discharge, exclusive BF (37 & 39%), partial BF (33 & 31%) and FF (30 & 30%) were similar. Exclusive BF in the PWSF group was 43% direct BF, 28% direct BF and EBM and 29% EBM alone whereas in the WOSF group exclusive BF was 93% direct BF and 7% direct BF and EBM.

CONCLUSION: BF initiation rates for women with PWSF and WOSF were similar. EBM alone or with direct BF enabled infants in the PWSF group to exclusively BF at discharge.

*Corresponding Author: 

Leandro Cordero, M.D., Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, N118 Doan Hall, 410 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1228, USA. Tel.: +1 614 293 8660; Fax: +1 614 293 7676; E-mail: