Prolactin Level and Breastmilk Production among Mothers of Low-Birth-Weight Infants Admitted to Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

  • Jessica Anne A. Dumalag Division of Newborn Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila
  • Maria Esterlita T. Villanueva-Uy Division of Newborn Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila
  • Peter Francis Raguindin Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila
Keywords: Kangaroo mother care, galactagogue, prolactin

Abstract

Background. Kangaroo mother care (KMC) has been proven by several studies to promote breastfeeding, but many of the studies focus on the success of exclusive breastfeeding, and less on its galactogenic effects.

Objective. We aim to determine the maternal serum prolactin levels and breastmilk volume of mothers who rendered KMC to their infants.

Materials and Methods. This is a randomized controlled, open-labeled, interventional study in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of a tertiary government hospital. Infants weighing < 2000 grams admitted in NICU Level II, together with medically stable mothers and no contraindication for breastfeeding were simultaneously enrolled. Primary outcome measures were maternal serum prolactin levels and expressed milk volume on day 3 and day 7 postpartum. Two-sample t-test was used to compare groups, and paired t-test to compare within groups. Tests were two-tailed, with a p-value of < 0.05 considered statistically significant.

Trial Registration. Australia-New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry ID ACTRN12614000218695

Results. Fifty mother-infant dyads were equally allocated into KMC and control groups (p < 0.001). There was significantly larger milk volume on the third day (29.6 ± 27.8 mL vs 16.3 ± 26.1 mL; p < 0.001) and seventh post-partum day (72.4 ± 62.3 mL vs 47.3 ± 43.8 mL; p < 0.000). There were increased serum prolactin levels compatible with post-partum state. The increase was more evident in the KMC (5244 ± 2702 mIU/L, on the 3rd postpartum day versus 4969 ± 2426 mIU/L, on the 7th postpartum day, p = 0.996) compared to control group (4129 ± 2485 mIU/L on the 3rd postpartum day versus 3705 ± 2731 mIU/L on the 7th postpartum day, p = 0.301).

Conclusion. We noted a significantly larger milk volume in the KMC group. There was also a greater increase in the prolactin levels in the KMC group, but this did not reach statistical significance. Further studies should be done to determine mechanism of galactogenesis through KMC.

Published
2021-12-21