Prevalence of medication intake during the postpartum period. A prospective cohort study in Greece
More details
Hide details
Department of Midwifery, School of Health and Care Sciences, University of West Attica, Athens, Greece
Obstetric Emergency Department, General and Maternity Hospital Helena Venizelou, Athens, Greece
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, General Hospital of Messinia, Kalamata, Greece
Department of Speech and Language Therapy, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Maria Tigka   

Department of Midwifery, School of Health and Care Sciences, University of West Attica, Athens, Greece
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A161
Hospitalization after childbirth, complications during the postpartum period, acute and chronic diseases are closely associated with increased maternal use of medicines which may lead to breastfeeding cessation1-3. The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of medication intake among postpartum women in the Greek setting.

Material and Methods:
Ultimately, 847 women were recruited from five tertiary maternity hospitals, between January-December 2020. Information was prospectively collected by a structured questionnaire via interview during hospitalization and via telephone in the first, third and sixth month postpartum.

Overall, 100% of mothers reported having taken at least one medicine, even excluding vitamins. In total, 8274 pharmaceuticals were used; mothers cited 114 different medicines, while the median number used was 9 (IQR: 8-11). According to the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification level 2, the most commonly consumed medications were antibacterials for systemic use (98.2%), analgesics (87.5%), anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic drugs (87.2%), pharmaceuticals against anemia (82.9%), anesthetics (79.7%), mineral supplements (68.6%), medicines for gynecological diseases (68.4%), antithrombotic agents (56.8%), thyroid therapy (22.9%), antacids (9.8%) and medicines for gastrointestinal disorders (5.8%). Cesarean section [OR= 9.1 (95% CI: 6.4 – 13.0); p<0.001], previous breastfeeding experience (p=0.002) and physician’s counseling for (p=0.038) breastfeeding discontinuation due to medication intake were factors significantly correlated to medication intake during lactation, after excluding medications systematically administered during postpartum hospitalization.

The prevalence of medication intake among lactating women in Greece is very high. Polypharmacy is a major concern for the national healthcare system4. The results highlight the need for the development and implementation of polypharmacy management initiatives.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
There was no source of funding for this research.
Tigka M, Metallinou D, Nanou C, Iliodromiti Z, Gryparis A, Lykeridou K. Medication Intake as a Factor for Non-Initiation and Cessation of Breastfeeding: A Prospective Cohort Study in Greece during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Children (Basel). 2023;10(3):586. doi:10.3390/children10030586
Schrey-Petersen S, Tauscher A, Dathan-Stumpf A, Stepan H. Diseases and complications of the puerperium. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2021;118:436-446. doi:10.3238/arztebl.m2021.0168
Tigka M, Metallinou D, Nanou C, Iliodromiti Z, Lykeridou K. Frequency and Determinants of Breastfeeding in Greece: A Prospective Cohort Study during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Children (Basel). 2022;9(1):43. doi:10.3390/children9010043
Pappa E, Kontodimopoulos N, Papadopoulos AA, Tountas Y, Niakas D. Prescribed-drug utilization and polypharmacy in a general population in Greece: association with sociodemographic, health needs, health-services utilization, and lifestyle factors. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2011;67(2):185-192. doi:10.1007/s00228-010-0940-0