Nursing While Pregnant – Is It Safe?


I have a 6 month old and I’m still nursing and I am about two weeks late. I’ve taken several pregnancy test and they all have came back negative. I am having alot pregnancy signs. Also, my milk is started to dry up is that a sign? And is it safe to nurse while being pregnant? My baby refuses to take a bottle! Please Help

Dr. Greene's Answer

Nursing while pregnant is usually very safe for all three of you.

Brooke, when women realize they’re pregnant while still breastfeeding, they often wonder whether the nursing will affect the unborn baby or the pregnancy, whether they will still make enough nutritious milk for the current child, and how the normal breast changes of pregnancy fit in.

Women’s bodies do an amazing job of providing fabulous nutrition to their babies – even if they are not eating a lot themselves during the weeks of normal morning sickness. When the tide turns, though, and they start to feel better, it’s important to eat plenty of good healthy food to supply the nutrients Mom needs – as well as the kids.

Nursing while pregnant can trigger uterine contractions, but these usually are unrelated to miscarriages or early labor. Nursing causes the release of oxytocin, which can stimulate contractions, but at levels too low to ripen the cervix.

Women who are at especially high risk of miscarriage or early labor, though, and who have been advised not to have sex (which also releases oxytocin) may do better if they stop nursing. There are other physical reasons to choose to stop, but these are uncommon.

Usually women are able to maintain their milk supply if they’re able to drink plenty of fluids, get some rest, and the demand remains high – either from nursing or from pumping. Extra fluids, rest, nursing or pumping may help.

Fenugreek is often used to increase milk supply – but I don’t recommend its use during pregnancy. It’s likely unsafe and might be associated with early labor.

Published on: February 03, 2012
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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