Becoming Pregnant While Breastfeeding

Updated on November 19, 2008
N.W. asks from Anchorage, AK
14 answers

I have been exclusively breastfeeding my son who is 4-1/2 months old. During the last 3-4 weeks I've been having cramps (menstrual type cramps). They always come on strong while breastfeeding or pumping but recently I've been having them off and on throughout the day. At first I thought maybe I was getting ready to start my period so I ignored them - but it's been a while and no period. I've asked around and none of my other friends have experienced this. I know uterine cramps are normal just after birth - but this is 4 months later. I wondered if I could be pregnant? I took a test which was negative but I'm still not convinced. Has anyone become pregnant while breastfeeding and felt similar cramps? I am fatigued but what new mother isn't? Thanks!

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answers from Bellingham on

I got pregnant while exclusively breastfeeding when my infant was five months old. I felt crampy, too.

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answers from Portland on

Hello N.,

Congratulations on exclusively breastfeeding! That is such an important job. Now then, as for the cramps and your concern of pregnancy. First of all if you haven't done anything to prevent pregnancy and are using breastfeeding as your birth control method, you could possibly be pregnant. The cramps are generally from the oxytocin release, and it is possible that your uterus is full, so you are feeling the cramps more easily. If you are unconvinced that you are not pregnant as you say, then you might consider going to the doctor or midwife who sees you and get a blood test for pregnancy which can tell you earlier and more accurately.

Best of luck to you!

T. Nelson CD

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richland on

I have a friend who became pregnant hile breast feeding but i do not kow about the cramping



answers from Seattle on

You CAN ovulate while breastfeeding - I don't care how many months it has been. That said, I don't know if your cramps mean anything. Wait a week and do another pregnancy test, and if the cramps persist, talk with your doctor.



answers from Seattle on

I got the exact same thing for what seemed like a month and then I got my period. I thought I was pregnant too! I would give it another week and then if you are still concerned call your OB. The female body is strange.... :)



answers from Portland on

Hi N.,
I too had uncomfortable cramps while breastfeeding. I was told that breastfeeding releases hormones that cause the uterus to contract. I found an article about it here:
I wish you the best either way.



answers from Portland on

I had both.
I had cramping with my son that turned out to be another pregnancy. and I had cramping with my Daughter the entire time I was nursing her 13 months. Each nursing felt like I was starting my period. I talked with my Dr. and it was just that I felt my uterine contractions more than usual. If you are concerned go see your DR. Chances are it is perfectly normal and you are just feeling the contractions.
good luck



answers from Portland on

Sometimes a change in nursing will bring on the cramps again, like if a baby is growing and just nursing more or more strongly.

If I recall correctly, Natural Family Planning (the science-based fertility-tracking system that developed because the Rhythm Method led to too many surprises) says if you are exclusively breastfeeding, four months is 'safe,' but after that not. An OB I recently talked to said, most women, as long as they are nursing AT ALL, will not ovulate (I was NOT one of those women, I ovulated at about 7 or 8 months, even in the case where I was exclusively breastfeeding past that). I tend to wonder if the OB profession's data is based on the for-so-many-years incredibly short duration of breastfeeding here in America ...

The other thing is, that as your body reorganizes itself after a birth, it may produce some false starts, or hormonal spikes that aren't really in a 'cycle' ... there are many things that can cause cramping (including exhaustion ;) ).

But, you know, take your B-vitamins for he next couple of weeks until you feel like the answer you get is the definite one. B-vitamins are probably good for you and the nursing baby, anyhow ;).

God bless!



answers from Portland on

Hi, I have felt the same things. Although, both times when I took the pregnancy test, it was positive. I cried with the 3rd positive test, as I had a toddler, a 3 1/2 month old, and was training for the Portland Marathon. Those tests, even the ones from the dollar store are accurate. If it says negative, most likely it is. My ob told me the cramping is just a way for my body to start adjusting to its newness of post pregnancy.



answers from Seattle on

I didn't get pregnant while breastfeeding, but I had the same cramping on and off again from about June until October, when my period finally came. Yes, I kept thinking I was pregnant and then when I wasn't kept thinking my period was coming. It drove me nuts! My son was also about 4 and a half months when it started.



answers from Portland on


I became pregnant when my first son was 5.5 months old. I was exclusively breastfeeding and never had a period. I laugh at all the people who say you "can't" get pregnant if you never have a cycle, or are still breastfeeding at least every three hours. You can and I have the 2 week old to prove it:-)!

That said, I did not have contractions or cramping while breastfeeding until I was about 7 months. I did have some cramping during what I later assume must have been implantation.

I found out I was pregnant, because I thought I had the flu. They did a blood pregnancy test, which is much more accurate.

Best Wishes!




answers from Portland on

It could be that you're pregnant, but it is unlikely if you haven't had a period yet. Your body may be getting ready to cycle again, which could explain the crampy feeling. I have had this with each of my babies, who I've exclusively nursed. Sometimes the cramping can go on for over a month or two before you see the period show up. Generally, the first period cycle postpartum is a non-fertile one (sort of like a warning), so most moms don't get pregnant before they've actually had a period postpartum. There is a very small percentage of women who will ovulate before the first postpartum period, which is why charting can be helpful. I would highly recommend the book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility".



answers from Eugene on

I started getting mild cramps when my son was around 6 months old (bf until 1 year), always thought my period was coming. Phantom maybe? Anyways, my period didn't return until I was completely done breastfeeding, even though it always "felt" like it was coming sooner. Maybe the case with you?



answers from Seattle on

Hi N.,

I got pregnant when my daughter was 4 1/2 months old, but didn't know it (I wrote off the cramping as normal uterine contractions from breastfeeding). If you've taken a pregnancy test and it is negative, you are probably fine, but you may want to have a blood test from your doc. I remember having cramping for several months before having my period with my first child (I had my first period when he was 7 months old).

I know this isn't very helpful...but I'd like to say that you're probably experiencing normal cramping from breastfeeding, but it would be good to get a blood pregnancy test from your doc in a few weeks to be sure.

Good luck!

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