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Ankylosing spondylitis and Breastfeeding

From my book Breastfeeding and Chronic Medical Conditions available on Amazon

From a slightly alternative angle… I have ankylosing spondylitis, thankfully mild. I used to have quite bad pain and stiffness in the mornings and was fairly reliant on NSAIDs. Since breastfeeding (6 years continuously over 2 children now!) these symptoms are basically gone! I put it down to being pretty “active” feeding overnight so do not get a chance to stiffen up!

I have a chronic degenerative back condition called ankylosing spondylitis. Breastfeeding was difficult once my condition returned 3 months after birth (was in remission in pregnancy) especially when he was cluster feeding, sitting and not moving for long periods of time caused intense pain but I did what I had to  give my boy the best I could. I have also had to try different medications as breastfeeding meant I could not take what I was taking before being pregnant. My little boy is now 8 months old and I could not be more proud that I am still breastfeeding


Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic arthritic condition in which the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed. It commonly develops in teenagers and young adults. It is twice as common in men as in women. Back pain and stiffness last at least 30 minutes and then eases through the day or with activity. Commonly the pain causes night waking. Some sources describe pain in one or both buttocks and sometimes the backs of the thighs.

Symptoms include pain and swelling in other parts of the body: inflammation of the joints and where a tendon joins a bone as well as extreme fatigue.


  • Exercise and physiotherapy to improve movement.
  • NSAIDs – ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen all of which are compatible with breastfeeding.
  • Anti TNF medication – adalimumab, Certolizumab pegol, Etanercept, Golimumab and Infliximab. These are large molecules which cannot be absorbed from breastmilk.
  • Steroid tablets and injections into affected joints which are compatible with breastfeeding
  • Assessment of risk of osteoporosis and treatment where necessary. See Section on Osteoporosis.

Further Information

National Axial Spondylarthritis Society  https://nass.co.uk/

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