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‘Is there any point in me doing this?’ Views and experiences of women in the Diabetes and Antenatal Milk Expressing (DAME) trial

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The Diabetes and Antenatal Milk Expressing (DAME) randomised controlled trial (RCT) was conducted in 2011–2015, at six sites in Melbourne, Australia to explore the effect of advising women with diabetes in pregnancy to express breast milk from 36 weeks gestation. Infants whose mothers were randomised to express in pregnancy were more likely to be exclusively breast milk fed during their hospital stay, and there was no evidence of harm. This paper explores women's views and experiences of antenatal expressing. In this two-arm RCT, 635 women with diabetes in pregnancy who were otherwise of low medical risk were randomised at 36–37 weeks gestation to usual care (not expressing, n = 316), or the intervention, where women were advised to hand express for 10 min twice daily until birth (n = 319). Semistructured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 10 women who expressed antenatally. They were asked about their experiences of antenatal expressing, including how they felt about the overall experience, the amount of breast milk they expressed, making time to express, and their experience of breastfeeding. Thematic analysis of the in-depth interviews identified six themes: (1) learning and adapting expressing, (2) feelings and sensations associated with expressing, (3) support, (4) dis/empowerment, (5) health, and (6) the value of breast milk. Women had both positive and negative experiences of antenatal expressing. If health professionals are advising antenatal expressing to women, it is important they understand the range of outcomes and experiences.


NHMRC equipment grant; National Health and Medical Research Council, Grant/Award Number: 1005345; La Trobe University equipment grant


Publication Date



Maternal and Child Nutrition





Article Number

ARTN e13307







Rights Statement

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium,provided the original work is properly cited.© 2021 The Authors.Maternal & Child Nutrition published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.