Director of CHOP’s Lactation Program Chosen for Congressional Task Force

Published on in CHOP News

Diane Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, nurse researcher and Director of the Lactation Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, will serve on the Congressional Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women. The task force, part of the 21st Century Cures Act, aims to fill gaps in knowledge and research on safe therapies for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

Dr. Spatz, one of the few nurses selected for the Task Force, had the opportunity to speak on August 21 and 22 at the first task force meeting held at the National Institutes of Health.

“The lack of consistent evidence-based information on the safety of medications for pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding negatively impacts mothers every day,” says Dr. Spatz. “This congressional task force is a historic opportunity to improve the care of women and infants in the United States as well as globally.”

Out of the 4 million women who give birth each year, more than 80 percent initiate breastfeeding. Thus, more than 3 million women are at risk for getting inaccurate information about medications during breastfeeding. While is it true that most medications cross over into the milk at rates of less than 5 percent, there are some medications that are harmful. What happens all too often, however, is that women are told to stop breastfeeding “just to be on the safe side.”

Dr. Spatz emphasized that all women deserve access to evidence-based information about medications during breastfeeding and pregnancy. She also stressed that as the most trusted health professional, the over 3 million nurses in the United States play a key role in getting accurate information to childbearing and breastfeeding women.

Federal members of the task force include leaders from the National Institute of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Office of Women’s Health (OWH).

Read more about the task force.