Lee SJ, Thomas J. Antenatal breast examination for promoting breastfeeding. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jul 16;(3):CD006064. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006064.pub2. Review. PubMed PMID: 18646135.
The rationale for antenatal breast examination has included the need to determine whether any problems with breastfeeding could be anticipated, using the time during examination as an opportunity for the healthcare provider to introduce and discuss the importance of breastfeeding, and for the detection of breast cancer during pregnancy. Despite these purported benefits of antenatal breast examination, whether there is evidence that it should be recommended for all pregnant women remains unclear.
To determine the effect of antenatal breast examination(s) on the initiation of breastfeeding.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (March 2008).
All randomised controlled trials of the effects of antenatal breast examination, with a concurrent comparison group.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data.
We identified no randomised controlled trials.
Ideally, policies that govern the care of pregnant women should be evidence based. There is no doubt that breastfeeding is beneficial for both mother and infant. However, there is no evidence to support the notion that antenatal breast examinations are effective in promoting breastfeeding, nor any evidence on other potential effects of antenatal breast examination, such as the detection of breast anomalies or satisfaction with care.
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