Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

Deciding whether to continue breastfeeding during a pregnancy is an individual choice. Breastfeeding during pregnancy is generally not risky. Your nursing child may naturally stop breastfeeding (wean) during your pregnancy.

If you have problems during pregnancy, you may be advised to stop breastfeeding. Work with your health care provider to help decide if breastfeeding during pregnancy is right for you.

What should I consider when deciding whether to breastfeed during pregnancy?

When deciding whether to continue breastfeeding while you are pregnant, you may want to consider:

  • The age of your nursing child and his or her physical and emotional needs.
  • Any health concerns related to your pregnancy. It may not be safe to continue breastfeeding if you have certain problems, such as:
    • Uterine pain or bleeding.
    • A history of preterm labor and delivery.
    • Problems gaining weight or losing weight during pregnancy.
    • A history of cervical insufficiency. This is a condition in which the cervix begins to thin and soften before your due date.
  • Whether you have any problems associated with breastfeeding. Some common problems experienced when breastfeeding during pregnancy include:
    • Nipple tenderness and breast soreness.
    • Nausea.
    • Discomfort while breastfeeding due to the growing belly.
    • Fatigue.
    • Reduced milk supply. This may mean having fewer feedings a day.
    • Changes in how your milk tastes.
    • Uterine contractions.

Follow these instructions at home:

  • Keep an open mind about how your breastfeeding experience will be. Avoid setting rigid expectations for yourself. Your needs and your nursing child’s needs are likely to change as your pregnancy progresses.
  • Make sure that you are gaining a healthy amount of weight and eating enough calories.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Drink plenty of fluids so your urine is clear or pale yellow.
  • Work with your health care provider and your child’s health care provider as needed.
  • Keep track of your nursing child’s weight. If your nursing baby is younger than twelve months, the normal decrease of your milk supply that happens during pregnancy could keep your baby from getting all the milk he or she needs.
  • Keep track of your nursing child’s daily wet diapers and bowel movements to make sure he or she is staying hydrated. Your baby should have 6-8 wet diapers and at least 3 stools each day.

Talk to your health care provider or lactation specialist before starting any new medications or supplements. This is to make sure that they are safe for both pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Seek Additional Information

Contact a health care provider if:

  • Your breasts become large and painful (engorged).
  • Your nursing child is urinating or having bowel movements less often than normal.

Summary

  • Breastfeeding during pregnancy is generally not risky. However, if you have problems during pregnancy, you may be advised to stop breastfeeding.
  • During pregnancy, your milk supply naturally decreases. Your nursing child may wean himself or herself naturally during your pregnancy.
  • Keep track of your nursing child’s weight, wet diapers, and stools to make sure that he or she is getting enough milk.
  • Keep an open mind about how your breastfeeding experience will be. Avoid setting rigid expectations for yourself.
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