The Role of Antenatal Screening and Postnatal Point-of-Care Testing in Maximizing Milk Production and Extending Lactation - Donna Geddes, Professor, DMU, PostGrad Dip (Sci), PhD.
Several anatomical, metabolic, and psychosocial factors, not routinely identified in pregnancy are associated with reduced exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding. Identification of pregnant women at high risk of low milk production creates a window for early targeted education and intervention. This screening in combination with point-of-care milk testing that can detect delayed secretory activation, breast inflammation or infection, and low milk production, directly informs lactation care that may optimize breastfeeding outcomes.
These advances in clinical lactation practice are urgent due to the increasing prevalence of pregnancy complications that we have found to be associated with low milk production. Furthermore, it is critical that fundamental research is carried out to elucidate which biological mammary gland pathways are dysregulated during these complications in order to develop evidence-based interventions to improve lactation outcomes.
Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to
- List antenatal risk factors associated with suboptimal lactation outcomes.
- Explain why these screening risk factors impact lactation.
- Describe expected changes in milk components after birth and list abnormal component concentrations that represent delayed secretory activation.
- List common pregnancy complications ranked in order of impact on milk production.