I have written a ton about breastfeeding and pregnancy on my blog. This is because I have actually gotten pregnant while breastfeeding twice.
I get so many questions about how to get pregnant while breastfeeding. I also get the question do I have to stop breastfeeding during pregnancy? There is a lot of misinformation about there about pregnancy and breastfeeding, so I decided to try and clear some of it up.
Now as always I will add to check with your OB/GYN if you have concerns, or you are having a high risk pregnancy. I am not dispensing medical advice but sharing my own anecdotal experiences.
When I got pregnant with my second baby I was breastfeeding my daughter who was around 13 months at the time. Once I found out I was pregnant I contacted my OB who had me come in for a blood test. I also was told by the nurse that the Dr. recommended I stop breastfeeding right away because pregnancy could cause miscarriage. What?!
I immediately freaked out because I was not ready to stop breastfeeding cold turkey. I spent a lot of time feeling upset and searching for information on the internet before I called the office back and said I wanted a second opinion.
My research led me to believe it is perfectly safe to breastfeed while pregnant, and when I called back I spoke to another Dr. who said it was fine and not to quit breastfeeding. My OB practice is made up of several doctors which is what led me to get advice from two separate doctors which contradicted each other. While I found this confusing, and I wanted to do whatever was best for my pregnancy, I did not want to stop breastfeeding if it was not necessary.
Getting the okay from another OB that it was fine to continue was enough for me and I went on to have a healthy pregnancy, and breastfeed until my daughter weaned when I was around 12 weeks pregnant.
So why did one of the Doctors recommend I quit breastfeeding?
There seems to be an old school train of thought that since breastfeeding releases oxytocin and this hormone can cause uterine contractions, it could cause a miscarriage. I am not sure where this comes from because it does not seem to be medically proven at all.
According to the American Pregnancy Association the amount of oxytocin released is such a small amount during breastfeeding it is not enough to cause preterm labor. Any contractions caused by the oxytocin are also harmless to the fetus and rarely increase the chances of miscarriage.
The truth about breastfeeding and pregnancy
In most healthy pregnancies it is perfectly safe to continue breastfeeding. Many babies will wean themselves when milk begins to change around four months pregnant. This is what happened with my daughter and I went on to have an uneventful pregnancy.
With my third pregnancy I was also still breastfeeding and this time my son kept nursing throughout the entire pregnancy and I had no issues. By this time my OB was completely on board with it and her only recommendation was to eat enough calories for breastfeeding and pregnancy, which was about 600 more calories than when not pregnant a day.
When it comes to breastfeeding and pregnancy there are a few items to consider. If you have a high risk pregnancy or a risk of preterm labor it may make sense to wean. If you are carrying multiples you may need to wean as well. Always consult with your OB if you have concerns.
It is also okay to want to wean for personal reasons even if safety is not a factor. Breastfeeding while pregnant can be exhausting physically and emotionally. Your baby’s age is also a factor.
If your baby is under 12 months old you will probably need to supplement and watch their intake since breastmilk supply can decrease during pregnancy. In my case my babies were both over a year old when I got pregnant so I did not have to worry much about my milk supply.
In most cases it is completely safe to breastfeeding during pregnancy, and you do not need to stop breastfeeding. The exceptions to this are a high risk pregnancy or other pregnancy complications. Always check with your OB/GYN and let your own feelings guide you through this.
Please let me know if you have any questions about breastfeeding while pregnant at all!