Objective To determine the efficacy of Fenugreek supplementation on the breastmilk production of mothers on postpartum days 1 to 5.
Methods Postpartum mothers aged 18 years and above at a tertiary private hospital were eligible to participate in this randomised, triple-blind, placebo-controlled study. Randomization was computer-generated and allocation was concealed. Mothers were randomised to receive 9 capsules of 610 mg Fenugreek seeds or placebo and were instructed to take 3 capsules, 3 times per day for 5 days. Mothers recorded the time and volume of expressed breastmilk. The contents of the capsules were unknown to the investigator, participants and study personnel. Statistical analyses used were T-test and Chi-square. A p-value of <0.05 was considered significant.
Results Sixty mothers were randomised to receive Fenugreek (n = 30) or placebo (n = 30). Twenty-four were excluded due to non-compliance leaving 36 mothers included in the analysis. There is a significant difference in the mean volume production (ml/hr) in favour of the Fenugreek group on days 1 to 5 (Day1: 9.49 ± 5.43 vs 5.23 ± 5.48, p = 0.0125; Day5: 25.06 ± 12.61 vs 13.78 ± 8.57, p = 0.0046). Side effects noted are maple-like smell of urine, breast tenderness, hunger and headache but none reported any serious adverse event. Respondents were satisfied to extremely satisfied with the intake of study intervention.
Conclusion Fenugreek significantly increases the breastmilk volume produced by mothers on post-partum days 1 to 5 compared to placebo. There were no reported serious adverse events in both groups. Overall, mothers are satisfied with the intake of Fenugreek.