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.