21 answers

Getting Pregnant While Breastfeeding W/ No Period

Ok, I know you *CAN* get pregnant while breastfeeding, but are the chances reduced significantly? Does anyone know the stats on this or where I can find them? Does not getting your period back affect your chances also? I believe I saw you can still ovulate without getting your period back? I haven't had mine in almost 2 years...my DD is 11 months old. I just started tracking my temps again, and I'm down to pumping/BFing once or twice a day (I have a large frozen supply). I would like to get pregnant in a few months, but am wondering if my chances are reduced since I am still BFing. I would love to continue breastfeeding at this reduced level, but only if my chances of getting pregnant are not significantly reduced. I've been slowly reducing the frequency & length that I pump since Christmas, but my period has yet to return.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Just relax and let it happen. I was bfing a lot and started my period when my daughter was a year, then got pregnant with my son right after that.

More Answers

I think that there is a lot of information out there that is contradictory, here is my opinion based on my experience. Breastfeeding is very different for every woman. Some women have a huge supply to the point where even after a year and a half it is painful to wean. As I understand it it's all based on hormone levels and depending on your hormone levels can determine whether or not you begin to ovulate and/or have a period and when. I think that if you have started your period the chances are higher that you can become pregnant, but that doesn't mean that you cannot if you haven't. I know MANY women who have become pregnant while breastfeeding exclusively, just as I know many who have become pregnant while taking hormonal contraception - I don't think ANYONE understands the human body and all its intricacies well enough to say anything for certain that applies to everyone. I would say, on average, your chances of conceiving are lower if you haven't started your period, however, you obviously ovulate before having a period, so you could. I do know that some women are able to maintain a pregnancy while breastfeeding but doctors sometimes recommend against it because nipple stimulation (like breastfeeding) can cause uterine contractions. I think that is between you and your doctor based on previous pregnancy history (like did you ever have an early miscarriage, etc) Congrats on bfing for so long and being committed to it. I hope you get the outcome you want!

2 moms found this helpful

Thanks for asking this question! My daughter is 23 months old and still nursing twice a day-I havent had regular periods since she was born and we have been trying for #2 for 9 months. I think tracking your temps is the best way to know where you stand. I need to start doing that!

1 mom found this helpful

My midwife told me when I was down to twice a day to "be careful". If you are tracking temps, you should be able to tell when you are ovulating.

I got pregnant while still nursing MORE than twice a day twice in the last 5 years :) But, I did get a period before I got pregnant (just one each time).

J.

1 mom found this helpful

the infant care/ parenting classes my husband and I took a month ago said it doesn't matter if your are breast feeding or not. It doesn't heighten or lower your risk of getting pregnant. She told us that it was just an old wives tale and to be careful. I hope this helped. Good luck. :)

1 mom found this helpful

It's just an old wives tale. Breastfeeding does NOT protect you from getting pregnant. I've always read that it doesn't affect it one way or the other - it's irrelevent. Also, you CAN still get pregnant even if you haven't gotten your period back. Some women don't ovulate without the period but that's not true for everyone. So I think ovulation would be the thing to look at for you, and don't worry about the breastfeeding.
Just look at the Duggars. Michelle gets pregnant with each child while still nursing and then keeps nursing through the pregnancy. It would be rediculous for any doctor to say either of those things was impossible. lol

1 mom found this helpful

Clearly, I don't have to tell you since it sounds like you've been successfully spacing your children through breastfeeding, but for those who say it's a myth, that is simply not true.

You can space children with breastfeeding up to 2 years or less. However, there are specific conditions you must follow. You have to be doing what's called ecological breastfeeding (on demand) in order to postpone fertility. There are many factors needed as well, such as never introducing a bottle, child wearing, etc. In many non-western cultures this method is successfully used because the lifestyle of women is more conducive to ecological breastfeeding. Most women in the West work or are too active to consider child-wearing or avoiding the ease of bottle feeding.

Since it sounds like you're pumping, and only feeding twice a day, chances are VERY GOOD fertility has or is returning. And yes, you can ovulate before you have a noticeable first period and get pregnant right away. This is why it's important to start charting using the "sympto/thermal" method as soon as you can, if avoiding pregnancy is a goal. If you simply want to start trying for a family, you'll probably have success within weeks or a few months. Probably not much longer.

The "sympto-thermal" is important as it gives you additional fertility signs to back up your charting. You will have a clearer idea if you are ovulating when studying your charts.

Here is a book with all of the answers to your questions and in more detail. By they way, all of Sheila Kippley's books on NFP and spacing are excellent and helpful:

http://www.amazon.com/Breastfeeding-Natural-Spacing-Sheil...

http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Standards-Ecological-Breastfe...

1 mom found this helpful

I nursed the first baby while pregnant with the second baby, they are 21 months apart, although my doctor told me it was impossible even as he stood there watching me do it!

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter nursed for two years and I didn't have a period for 18 months after she was born. She didn't change nursing habits when I finally had a period, it just started and was only every other month until she stopped. I got pregnant when she was 21 months and had only had two periods. I would suggest after she turns 1, stop pumping but let her nurse when she wants. That should reduce it enough but if it doesn't, at least you made it through the first year!

I agree w/ many of the others. Yes you can get pregnant while breastfeeding, but if your period has not returned your chances are less. In my experience, my husband and I were using no protection while I was breastfeeding (very similar situation as you...hadn't gotten my period for almost 2 years due to being prego and the bf'ing). I quit breastfeeding my daughter at 9 months and it took 2 more months after quitting for me to get my period. Then, bam, after getting my first period I was pregnant the very next cycle. So....I guess it all just depends how long you're willing to wait for that pregnancy to happen. If you really want to get pregnant, your chances will go up if you stop breastfeeding. But if you're not ready to give that up yet, and are willing to be patient w/ getting pregnant, then give it a whirl. Who knows, you may end up pregnant while breastfeeding, you may not. Everyone's different. :-)

I was nursing my 16 month old a few times a day and still had not gotten a period. We were getting the itch to try for a second child. I started feeling like I was possibly ovulating, so I bought an ovulation kit...and sure enough, I was! A couple weeks later, we were pregnant. I went almost 3 years without a period because I was either pregnant or nursing a child. Two other notes: ovulation kits can read positive if you're pregnant. And, my period came after only 7 months with child #2 even though I was nursing the same amount.

I breastfed my son and still got pregnant. For me, I got my period when he was 11.5 months old due to decreased breastfeeding, and then again the next month and then bam! Pregnant.
I kept breastfeeding throughout and still am (granted my son only wants to breastfeed now once- right before bed), and I'm glad I kept at it.
If you are wanting to get pregnant in a couple months and are only breastfeeding 2-3 times a day, your period should return soon and so should your ovulation times.
Good luck! :)

Just relax and let it happen. I was bfing a lot and started my period when my daughter was a year, then got pregnant with my son right after that.

My midwife told me that a majority of women's periods come back when their babies start eating food more than breastmilk. Not sure where your baby is along the feeding chart of things...

My kids are 20 months apart. I was told that I couldn't get pregnant while still breastfeeding full-time. My period had not returned - we weren't "planning" on getting pregnant again quite yet. I had no idea I was pregnant until I almost passed out when I picked up my 13 month old daughter. Felt a little nauseous as well so I took a test just in case... Hank is proof positive that you can indeed get pregnant while breastfeeding!

are you ready to give up bfing your 11 month old if so start now to see if in a few months your period comes back don't get or use any contraception.Of course getting a period is alot easier to track than not having one at all.I'm still bfing my 1 yr old I have had my periods start when she was 6 months old as for my other 2 I was reg.while bfing them after 6 weeks postpartum

Yes! Someone's finally asked! YES, your chances are reduced. NO, of course you should not use breastfeeding as birth control; tons of people get pregnant while breastfeeding. I, though, had ZERO problems conceiving the first three times--within two months, we were pregnant. We have been trying for our next baby for 7 months now (we lost baby #2 to miscarriage)--and I firmly believe that I cannot get pregnant because of breastfeeding. I have had a period since 7 weeks postpartum, and I breastfed my son almost 2 1/2 years. I *STILL* cannot get pregnant. In January, we took him down to two feedings a day, didn't get preg. Feb--1 feeding, late Feb, quit entirely, and, as of today, I am still not pregnant, but this cycle will be the first where I've had a full month of no breastfeeding behind me. If you look through The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or other very good breastfeeding sites (LaLeche League, or kellymoms.com), they too will say that your fertility IS impaired AS LONG AS YOU ARE BREASTFEEDING. I know, most people will tell you, oh, I got pregnant breastfeeding, and honestly, I thinkmost people can and most hospitals/docs don't want to encourage people to use it as birth control. BUT...for those of us who want to get pregnant in a timely manner and can't, it's very frustrating. I was really hoping to nurse him through my pregnancy (I have horrible anxiety during pregnancy, and the oxytocin from breastfeeding is wonderful) but I am not prepared to nurse a 3 year old! I have another friend who got pregnant immediately with her first, nursed, tried for a year for #2, finally quit nursing, got pregnant within weeks, miscarried, and got pregnant again two weeks later. She also chalks it up to the nursing. Anyway--it's a tough call. I wasn't ready to quit with my son, but we also want to work on our family. It was definitely bittersweet for me.

EDIT: Those sites all said that breastfeeding REDUCED your fertility...they did not say they removed it entirely. If I had been willing to breastfeed indefinitely (or had we wanted our third sooner) I might have tried longer. But I'm 33, and was willing to wean a 2 1/2 year old. I also have wondered whether I am in fact ovulating (as my period would seem to indicate) but not able to get pregnant because my body believes I'm still supporting a "baby" by nursing, for some hormonal reason.

If you haven't gotten your period back, you are not likely to get pregnant. You cannot ovulate more than once without getting your period (the only time you would ovulate without having a period is the first time you ovulate after the baby - then you would have either have a period or be pregnant). It took me 11 months to get my period back after baby #1 (also after reducing the BFing to twice a day), and then I immediately became pregnant.

In general you are less fertile,NOT infertile while breastfeeding. Although you may not menstruate for months after giving birth, your body usually releases its first postpartum egg before you get your first period. I've heard that you can start ovulating any time after three months of lactation and if you are reducing the number of times you pump it could happen. I had a friend that was breastfeeding "thought it was birthcontrol" got pregnant when her baby was nine months old so i think its different for everyone. If you want to read more info on the matter yourself try www.babycenter.com

I think you can ovulate before you get your period back but it only happens right before you get your first period. I guess you could get pregnant that first time you ovulate. I had the same problem trying to get pregnant. I think my period finally returned after I had been nursing only once a day for a while. I got pregnant shortly after that. We wanted our kids to be closer to 18 months apart but I didn't want to quit breastfeeding early so they will be 25 months apart instead. Good luck!

Not sure about the "getting pregnant" part without your period yet part, but I do know we had thought about getting pregnant again when my Daughter was around 12 months, I wasn't pumping anymore, but was still breastfeeding a couple of times a day, and the Doctor told us we could not try again until I was going to be done breastfeeding, as it can cause you to start having contractions, labor, etc. I didn't get my period back until I stopped pumping completely & was down to just one night feeding. Hope this helps a little. :o)

My son is 14 months. I just got my period for the first time. For me it finally happened when he started only nursing at bedtime. I had spotted a couple times since he turned one. I asked my ob and she said my hormones were all over the place. We are all different, just thought I would share my experience.

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