8 Signs of Pregnancy While Breastfeeding
Getting pregnant while still nursing your baby? Yes, it is possible. To most women breastfeeding acts as a natural contraceptive preventing them from getting pregnant as they breastfeed their toddler. However, one should not completely rule out the possibility of conceiving. Given that very few women would actually expect to get pregnant while breastfeeding, then one must be extra attentive not to miss the signs of pregnancy while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding and pregnancy?
To some extent breastfeeding is termed to make women infertile, this is to allow them time to nurse their baby before actually conceiving. However, this can be pretty confusing since one doesn’t know when they are ready to conceive again since there is no menstruation.
While breastfeeding, the mammary glands produce prolactin hormone that helps in the release of more milk. Also as your nipples get stimulated while your baby is breastfeeding this triggers the release of more prolactin hormone which has a rather negative effect on the reproductive hormones. Prolactin hormone prevents ovulation and the menstrual cycle and as a result acting as a natural contraceptive.
While breastfeeding your baby the body also releases oxytocin hormone that also has a negative influence on the reproductive cycle. This hormone creates an unusually uncomfortable environment for an embryo to grow and implant.
To most women breastfeeding these hormones makes them infertile for up to 16 months when their toddler is ready to wean. However, in some cases, the regular menstruation cycle starts before the baby weans completely, and this would mean that you shall conceive. Well, that is if you are sexually active of which I know at this phase most of us are.
Signs of pregnancy while breastfeeding
The following are the major signs that will hint whether you are pregnant while breastfeeding:
During my first pregnancy and especially the first and second trimester I would get fatigue quite often for no reasons. There are times I would lay on the sofa watching my favorite cartoon as I listen to my baby kick and still feel so tired. Things eased up when I gave birth, I would do some house chores and stay active for long without feeling tired.
If you find that several weeks after giving birth you feel fatigued more often for apparently no good reason, then there are high chances that you are pregnant. I have had friends who got pregnant while breastfeeding and this was the major sign that made them suspect that they might be pregnant.
2. Change in breastmilk appearance
Babies adore breastmilk. This is their primary source of food while they are growing and it also helps to increase the bond with their mother. Under normal circumstance, it is quite a rare scenario to see a baby refuse to breastfeed. Of cos, there are other reasons that might be the cause such as the baby is full, sick...
However, if you find it that your nursing baby loses interest in the breastmilk then there is a high chance this is a sign of pregnancy while breastfeeding. When you conceive while still breastfeeding the breast milk appearance changes from white to a more watery form. Sometimes the milk becomes salty, sour and unpleasing to the baby and this will explain the sudden loss of interest.
3. Sore nipples
One of the signs of early pregnancy is sore and tender breasts. Things aren’t any different while you become pregnant while breastfeeding. If you find that your breasts have sore nipples that might be painful when you touch or when the baby is suckling, then there is a high chance that you are pregnant.
4. Reduction in breastmilk
As mentioned earlier, prolactin and oxytocin hormones are the ones that help in the release of milk. One of the signs of pregnancy while breastfeeding is that there will be a reduction in the breastmilk.
On conceiving, the body produces progesterone hormone that helps in implantation, it is the clash of these hormones that leads to the reduction of the breastmilk. If as a breastfeeding mother you find that your milk supply suddenly reduced then, congratulations you are pregnant.
5. Morning sickness
Not most women plan or anticipate for pregnancy while still breastfeeding. To me, morning sickness was my worst nightmare when I was pregnant. The idea of waking up in the morning headed to the bathroom to vomit made me actually regret ever getting pregnant in the first place.
Things won’t be any different if you conceive while still breastfeeding. If you find that you are having nausea and slight headache then there is a high chance that you are pregnant. And, don’t let the name fool you, this doesn’t always have to happen in the morning. You can have morning sickness at any time of the day. I know, having morning sickness while still breastfeeding is not what every mother would wish for, but, it’s one of the few things we as women don’t have control over.
6. Implantation breading
Before giving birth no one actually told me that I shall have more vaginal discharge and will need after birth sanitary towels. I guess one has to experience some things so as to learn. However, after 5 weeks the discharge stops and you can get back to the drawing board and experiment on any crazy sex position you fancied about while pregnant. Yeah, I know, it feels so good considering the fact that it has been a while.
As a sign of pregnancy during breastfeeding, you are most likely to have a spotting. This is the implantation bleeding. If this happens then get prepared to usher in your next baby sooner than later.
Most women will tell you that cramping is quite normal while pregnant. After giving birth, there is a relief since the cramping stops. If you find weeks or few months after giving birth you start getting cramps then it is more likely that you are pregnant.
8. Extreme thirst and urination
After giving birth I used to drink a lot since I was advised so by my doctor so as to help increase the milk content. However, if you find that most of the times you are extremely thirsty and start urinating more often than usual. Then there is a high chance you conceived! Again!
When is weaning advisable?
If you get pregnant while breastfeeding this shouldn’t mean that you have to wean your toddler, the milk might be unpleasing to the baby but it still contains all the essential nutrients needed. However, the following are the instances when weaning is advisable of you to get pregnant while breastfeeding.
- If you are carrying twin- having twins will mean that there will be more progesterone hormone and more oxygen and nutrients will be needed to the healthy development of the twins in your belly. It is then advisable that you should wean your toddler.
- If you are at a high risk of pre-labor- oxytocin is a hormone that is generated so as to ensure that the mammary glands release more milk. This hormone, on the other hand, causes uterus contractions and might lead to a miscarriage.
- In case you bleed or have uterine pain- the clash of the two hormones might be the cause of this and if you baby is old enough to wean then this would be the right time to do so.
It is my hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and most importantly found it useful. Most women are not aware that one can conceive while still breastfeeding. I hope that all the questions that you had on the various signs of pregnancy while breastfeeding have been answered to your satisfaction. Don’t keep all this knowledge to yourself, share the article with a friend or two and don’t forget to leave a comment in the comment section below.