You can get pregnant while breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has a host of great benefits for moms, but don’t rely on breastfeeding or the absence of your period for birth control, or… surprise!  Breastfeeding may decrease the odds of becoming pregnant by delaying the return of a woman’s menstrual period.  Contrary to popular myth, however, it does not prevent pregnancy, even if the mother is not menstruating.  Many women ovulate before they see their period return.

If you want to be certain not to conceive again until you and your partner are ready for another child, speak with your health care provider about when to return to using contraception.  By the way, oral contraceptives containing estrogen may decrease milk production for some women.  If you think that might be a problem for your milk supply, discuss different birth control options with your provider.

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7 Responses to “You can get pregnant while breastfeeding”

  1. concha Says:

    Happened to my mother. Can you image her surprise? My sister and I are the same age for 10 days every year. We call it Twinkie Week.

  2. Lindsay Says:

    Thanks Concha. It happened in my neighbor’s family, too. They have a boy and a girl just eleven months apart. I get exhausted just thinking about it!

  3. Mary Says:

    How long should I wait? I am feeling some pressure to “get on with it.” if you know what I mean.

  4. Lindsay Says:

    Mary, that’s a good question. Waiting less than 6-9 months between birth and the beginning of the next pregnancy may raise the risk of having preterm labor. It’s always best to check your health with your doc, so that you know what’s really best for you.

  5. Sarah Says:

    It happened to me! I breastfeed my 8 month old son, and still haven’t had my period yet. As of a week ago, there are two positive home pregnancy tests staring at me.

  6. Macrya Says:

    I am still nursing a two year old. I had a period that lasted for 3 days, just after having sex a week before….using no birth control. Is there a chance i could still be pregnant even after recieving a period and breastfeeding?

  7. Lindsay Says:

    Hi Macrya, thanks for stopping by. The fact that you had a period is a fair indicator that you’re not pregnant – but I suppose it’s not out of the realm of possibility. If three days is unusually short and/or light for you, I’d wait til your next period is due and if it doesn’t appear take a pregnancy test. And if you’re not ready to have a sibling for your two year old, it’s time for a contraception conversation.