Will nursing cause a miscarriage? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 02-27-2003, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since nursing increases prolactin and estrogen,which essentially lowers the progesterone you need to keep an implanted egg, can you conceive and then lose the baby due to nursing? I wonder this because we are TTC, and twice now I have had all the same pregnancy symptoms I had with DS, but the day my cycle was due, I have terrible cramps and a heavy flow for 7 days or so. Or does the lack of proper hormones mean that the egg that is released is immature, so you couldn't have a healthy baby anyways?
TIA,
Steph
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#2 of 10 Old 02-27-2003, 06:15 PM
 
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They say nursing will not cause a miscarriage. I nursed until I was about 5 mos pg before my dd weaned and my ds is now 11 mos old. The only time nursing should be avoided is if you need to be on complete pelvic rest (no sex) or you are over 24 (?) weeks if you have risk for preterm labor.

My pg symptoms are the same as my pms symptoms, so that causes me no end of worry every month if I'm late, as my cycles haven't regulated yet. (We're not planning anymore and are using b/c, but I still worry b/c I'm usually very regular- like clockwork.)

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#3 of 10 Old 02-27-2003, 06:56 PM
 
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Nursing should not cause a miscarriage in a normal, healthy pregnancy. As for the heavier flow and extra cramps - your period may just be different now than it was before you had your ds.
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#4 of 10 Old 02-27-2003, 07:08 PM
 
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my best friend is 22 weeks and nursing her 29 month old and my sister nursed her son all through her pregnancy ..she now is tandem nursing her 14month old and 3 week old.

good luck
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#5 of 10 Old 02-27-2003, 09:19 PM
 
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I have a history of miscarriage so I would not continue nursing. I have read that is does and read that it doesnt. It seems everyone has an opinion. I think only you can decide what is right for you.

Goodluck!!!
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#6 of 10 Old 03-01-2003, 03:15 AM
 
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I had a miscarriage at the end of November. I told my mid-wife that I was still nursing my toddler and she said "good for you!" I also told her I had heard that nursing can cause miscarriages and she felt it was not true.

As OnThe Fence stated, everyone has their opinion and there will never be a way of proving or disproving if it's true. Doing what's best for you and your ds is really all you can do!
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#7 of 10 Old 03-01-2003, 03:12 PM
 
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Well, actually there is a way of proving or disproving it is true. It is called scientific research.

On your uterus are certain hormone receptors. These are not "activated" until late in pregnancy, around your due date. So, that is why you can nurse and orgasm safely during pregnancy. You may have harmless Braxron Hicks sometimes during bfing or orgasm, but these are actually good for you. (Did you know that the same hormome, oxytocin, is even released while eating?)

If you have a history of repeat miscarriages (more than one or two), and your HCP has ordered no sex, no orgasm, then of course, nursing, which causes the same release of oxytocin hormome, would be contra-indicated as well.

The latest scientific paradigm suggests 50% of all fertilized eggs are miscarried (usually in the first month), so to blame it on bfing seems too bad for bfing and Mother Nature's plan.
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#8 of 10 Old 03-01-2003, 10:31 PM
 
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Are you charting your cycles at all? That will give you a better idea of whether nursing could be a "problem." The primary cause of breastfeeding infertility is the lowered estrogen levels, which supresses ovulation altogether. However, once you start ovulating again, breastfeeding often causes lowered progesterone levels. If your progesterone levels are too low to maintain the uterine lining long enough, you may start menstruating before a fertilized egg has a chance to implant. The best way to see if this is an issue is to chart your basal body temperature to see how long your luteal phase (the time from ovulation to menstruation) is. (I apologize if you know all this already.) The rise in progesterone after ovulation causes an observable increase in your temperature, and you can count the number of days of elevated temperature you have to check the length of your luteal phase -- your temperature will drop again right before your period starts. Ten days is usually the shortest luteal phase to allow a good chance at implantation -- an average length luteal phase is around 14 days. So if you are having luteal phases of less than 10 days, you may not be able to maintain a pregnancy.

I did not start cycling again until my dd was 19 months old, and my first 2-3 cycles were very long, but with extremely short luteal phases (my first cycle was 52 days long, in which I did not ovulate until about day 46!) By my 5th and 6th cycles I was up to a 10 day luteal phase (I had a 14 day luteal phase pre-pregnancy) and we successfully conceived again on our first try during my 7th cycle post-partum, while my dd was still nursing several times day and night -- dd just weaned within the past few weeks and I am uneventfully in my second trimester.

It seems from all that I have read (and I read a lot ) that nursing during pregnancy is only a concern in the very early stages, for the reasons mentioned above, and in women with a history of pre-term labor. As another poster mentioned, the oxytocin receptors are not formed until later in pregnancy, so the contraction-causing aspects of nursing should not cause an increased risk of first-trimester miscarriage. Low progesterone levels might not even be recognized as causing miscarriages, but rather in difficulty conceiving while nursing.

Progesterone is also important in maintaining pregnancy even after implantation, as the corpus luteum has to maintain progesterone production until the placenta can take over around the beginning of the second trimester. However, an important thing to note is that you can have your OB or midwife check your progesterone levels, and progesterone supplements can be given if they are low.

I think the average woman should not worry about nursing during a pregnancy, as it is not usually a problem. I think it is good to know about the progesterone issue however, so that if a woman is having trouble conceiving or suffers early miscarriages while nursing, she can look into her progesterone levels.
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#9 of 10 Old 03-02-2003, 06:06 AM
 
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All the research ever done on the subject says that no, nursing will not cause a miscarriage.

My mom is a lactation consultant and says that many doctors do not believe this even when she hands them literal volumes of scientific studies that were published in reputable, peer-review journals. My own doctor tried to convince me to stop nursing when I was pregnant with my second; he was born just a couple of days early at 8lbs 7oz :-). My daughter nursed at least 4 times a day all the way through the pregnancy :-).

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

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#10 of 10 Old 03-03-2003, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for taking the time to make such thoughtful, information-packed replies
We have been TTC since I got my first PP cycle, I am on my 7th cycle with no luck so far. I have been charting, and yes NicoleElizabeth, my LP's have been short. They are up now, this one was 12 days, last month was 10, month before that was 13 days. So, I guess I am getting closer. I see a clear ovulation shift, too.
I wasn't concerned about nursing later in pregnancy, but have been curious if the effects on progesterone could cause an already precarious pregnancy to be lost during the first trimester. I like to side with nature, too, DaryLLL, so I'm thinking it's just not the right time for me (or DS!).
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