An Overview of Breastfeeding While Pregnant

Many expecting mothers wonder if breastfeeding during pregnancy is safe. The answer is yes! The Plano obstetricians at Women’s Specialists of Plano, as well as countless physicians around the world, consider breastfeeding while pregnant a completely safe and healthy practice in the majority of cases. Many moms not only continue nursing while pregnant, they also tandem nurse. Tandem nursing is defined as breastfeeding both an older child and a newborn baby.

The Safety of Breastfeeding during Pregnancy

Many women find themselves in a situation where they are breastfeeding one child and find out they are pregnant again. When this occurs, it is completely normal for moms to have questions regarding overall safety, how it will affect the older child and how it will impact the fetus.

When it comes to breastfeeding while pregnant, many women worry it will cause mild uterine contractions. This should not be a concern in a healthy pregnancy because these small contractions do not cause preterm labor. This is because the hormone released during breastfeeding that stimulates contractions, known as oxytocin, is released in a relatively tiny amount. The small amount is not known to cause preterm labor or cause harm to the growing fetus.

The older child is also safe to continue nursing. The small amount of pregnancy hormones that pass into the milk pose no harm to the other child.

The Concerns of Breastfeeding While Pregnant

Even though breastfeeding while pregnant is typically considered a safe practice by obstetricians, there are certain circumstances that can place a woman and the fetus at risk. These include:

  • A high-risk pregnancy
  • Risk of preterm labor
  • Bleeding or uterine pain
  • Carrying twins
  • Directions to have no sex while pregnant

Breastfeeding during pregnancy can cause changes to the milk around the fourth and fifth months of pregnancy. The milk supply usually lessens during this time. A reduced amount of milk has the ability to make the milk distasteful to the nursing child.

If a mom decides to continue breastfeeding while pregnant, it is important she eats a healthy, well-balanced diet since the nutrients are critical to both the growing fetus and older child. The healthy diet will also help offset the increased risk of fatigue in many cases.

For additional resources on breastfeeding while pregnant, or to discuss any concerns you may have about breastfeeding during pregnancy, please contact the Plano obstetricians at Women’s Specialists of Plano.