Breastfeeding and Pregnancy

Do breastfeeding and pregnancy mix? Is it safe to breastfeed while you are pregnant?

Bare Necessities
The short answer is, yes. As long as your pregnancy is typical and healthy being pregnant does not have to be a reason for you to wean your older baby or toddler.

Research and Further Reading

Research and focus on the subject of breastfeeding and pregnancy and beyond has been wonderfully compiled and written and published in a book that I highly recommend, Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond, by Hillary Flower.

Nutrition While Nursing and Pregnancy

One of the concerns that people have about mothers breastfeeding while pregnant is how it will nutritionally effect the fetus, the nursing sibling, and the mother. Does someone in this trio miss out on important nutrients? While this is a valid concern, studies have shown that well-nourished women need not worry as long as they eat a balanced diet. Women who are underweight or suffer from eating disorders may be putting their own health at risk and should consult a nutritionist.

What About Breastfeeding Induced Contractions?

Some people worry that the oxytocin produced during breastfeeding could cause the uterus to contract and lead to a miscarriage or pre-term labor. There are a few points to consider.

Firstly, in a pregnancy where sexual intercourse has not been discouraged by a physician for medical reasons, there is no contraindication to breastfeeding. Orgasm produces levels of oxytocin equal to or higher than those secreted while nursing. If your care-giver tells you not to have intercourse to to the risk of pre-term labor you are probably best advised not to breastfeed or have any nipple stimulation either.

Studies have shown that the female body is indeed a very intelligent organ! In fact the oxytocin receptors needed to induce labor appear on the uterus only in late pregnancy. This means that while the body may be producing the hormone, oxytocin, the uterus does not have the “tools” to react to it and will therefore not contract or go into labor.

Milk Supply

Many moms notice changes in their milk supplies during pregnancy. Some women are happy to report that their supplies remain high while many more see a drop in milk production significantly noticeable in the first 21 weeks. For some, milk levels return in the last trimester while others must wait until after the birth of their baby for milk quantities to return.

A Personal Choice

As with all stages of breastfeeding and parenting, you must decide what works best for you and your family.
Breastfeeding and pregnancy. Is it possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding?

Getting pregnant while breastfeeding