Patients are educated regarding the safety of breastfeeding specific to the procedure they are undergoing
Effects of radiation and contrast media on breast milk
- The vast majority of diagnostic imaging procedures (including X-ray, CT, MRI) have no known significant effect on breast milk, and pose no known risk to the breastfeeding infant1,2,3.
- Some nuclear medicine procedures do require a modification to breastfeeding (also see “Breastfeeding in nuclear medicine” guideline for more information).
- Current research indicates that it is safe to breastfeed following radiation therapy, if the mother is still capable of lactation4,5.
- Breastfeeding is contraindicated, however, during concurrent chemotherapy6
- Current research also indicates it is safe to breastfeed after receiving a contrast agent3,7,8.
- Only a miniscule amount of contrast agent is passed from mother to baby through breast milk
- Some mothers may have concern about the effects of diagnostic imaging or radiation therapy on breastfeeding.
- MRTs ensure that patients have been provided with information and explanations to make informed decisions about breastfeeding and the possible need for pumping breast milk or using formula2,3
- Patients can be provided with or directed to educational resources regarding the safety of breastfeeding following diagnostic imaging, radiation therapy, or radionuclide therapy
Canadian breastfeeding Foundation. Breastfeeding and Medication. Available from: https://www.canadianbreastfeedingfoundation.org/basics/medications.shtml. [Accessed 12 Dec 2019]
American Association of Family Physicians. Breastfeeding, Family Physicians Supporting (Position Paper). Available from: https://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/breastfeeding-support.html. [Accessed 13 Dec 2018]
Radiopaedia. Contrast media and breastfeeding. Available from: https://radiopaedia.org/articles/contrast-media-and-breastfeeding. [Accessed 12 December 2019]
La Leche League International. Cancer and breastfeeding. Available from: www.llli.org/cancer-and-breastfeeding/. [Accessed 12 Dec 2019]
Helewa M, Vesque PL, Provencher D, et al. Breast cancer, pregnancy and breastfeeding. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2002;24(2):164-180.
Canadian Pediatric Society. The Baby-Friendly Initiative: Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding (Position Statement). Available from: https://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/baby-friendly-initiative-breastfeeding. [Accessed 29 Nov 2018]
American College of Radiology. Manual on Contrast Media, v10-3. Available from: https://www.acr.org/Clinical-Resources/Contrast-Manual. [Accessed 12 Dec 2018]
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Guidelines for Diagnostic Imaging During Pregnancy and Lactation. Available from: https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Guidelines-for-Diagnostic-Imaging-During-Pregnancy-and-Lactation?IsMobileSet=false. [Accessed 12 December 2019]