Nursing and risk of preterm labor - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 09-18-2007, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm 17 weeks pregnant and nursing my 22-month-old. I went into preterm labor with him at 33 weeks. Mega scary. Lots of magnesium and bedrest. I ended up being able to carry him to term luckily.

According to my dr., I've got a 20 percent risk of going into preterm labor with this babe given my history. Today the nurse pract. brought up the worry of nursing past 20 weeks putting me even more at risk for preterm labor. I checked out kellymom, but didn't find a lot of "hard" info. there.

So, is it truly a risk? I'm kind of worried, as I hadn't thought of the connection before. I don't want to wean my ds2 unless he's truly ready (he's nursing anywhere from 6-4 times per day currently) but even moreso I do not want to put the babe I'm carrying at risk. Any links to info. (not just "well, I know a woman who nursed after a preterm labor scare and was just fine...") would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, mamas!

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#2 of 7 Old 09-18-2007, 11:08 PM
 
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Everything that I've read says that yes, there is a real risk there. Because breastfeeding releases oxytocin and oxytocin can trigger labor IF you are at risk for preterm labor.

If you are not at risk for it to begin with, then breastfeeding is safe to do. They have found no link between breastfeeding and a normal uncomplicated pregnancy.

Kellymom says this,
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/tandem/index.html

Quote:
Is it safe to nurse during pregnancy?

Yes, in most cases. At this time no medical study has been done on the safety of breastfeeding during pregnancy so it is impossible to list any definitive contraindications. If you are having a complicated pregnancy, such as lost weight, bleeding, or signs of preterm labor, you should problem-solve your individual situation with your caregiver. Depending on your individual situation and feelings you may decide that continued breastfeeding, reduced breastfeeding, or weaning is for the best.
bold mine.

Dr Sears
http://www.parenting.com/parenting/p...648145,00.html

Quote:
Mothers were once cautioned against breastfeeding during pregnancy because it stimulates the secretion of oxytocin, the hormone that can also cause contractions of the uterus. It was feared that these contractions could cause a miscarriage. Yet new insights show that the uterus is not sensitive to the hormone until around the 24th week of pregnancy. So, unless you have an obstetrical condition that might place you at risk for miscarriage — your obstetrician will tell you if you do — you can safely breastfeed during the first half of your pregnancy. If you have a history of miscarriage or you're noticing strong contractions while you nurse, it's wise to stop.
bold mine

LLL
http://www.llli.org/NB/NBJulAug00p116.html

Quote:
What about preterm labor? This situation is less clear-cut than threatened first-trimester miscarriage, and it seems much more likely that a mother who is experiencing symptoms of preterm labor might potentially benefit from at least a temporary weaning. Prolonging pregnancy by a few days or even hours can make a great difference to the health and viability of a premature baby. Weaning may be advisable in a few cases when a woman is experiencing preterm labor.

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#3 of 7 Old 09-21-2007, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nature, thank you so much. Dh and I have been talking about the information you've posted and it's really helped with our decision. I appreciate you taking the time to track down such helpful links.

A happy woman
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#4 of 7 Old 09-21-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by operamommy View Post
Nature, thank you so much. Dh and I have been talking about the information you've posted and it's really helped with our decision. I appreciate you taking the time to track down such helpful links.
No problem!

I hope your pregnancy goes well! We're due the same month.

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#5 of 7 Old 09-21-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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When I was pregnant with DS I went into preterm labor at 30 weeks. I ended up 4 cm dilated and about 80% effaced, the labor was stopped with mag sulfate and I spent a week in the hospital on mag and the rest of the pregnancy on bedrest and terbutaline at home and I made it full term.

That being said, he nursed all the way through my pregnancy with DD. She was born full term, the day before her due date at a healthy 10 lbs. No signs of preterm labor whatsoever. I've now been tandem nursing for 14 months.

Good luck! If you have any questions feel free to PM me, it sounds like our situations were very similar!

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#6 of 7 Old 09-22-2007, 08:29 PM
 
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Yes, as nature quoted, most sources say if you're at risk for preterm labor, you need to be more careful with breastfeeding into the third trimester. HOWEVER, it's by no means a cut and dry decision. You could always try to first cut back the nursings--either the number or the duration. Watch your body VERY CAREFULLY. It's okay to have a contraction or two (or more) as long as they're no stronger than BH and as long as they stop not long after you stop nursing (i.e. you finish nursing at noon, contractions stop by 12:10) If they continue after you stop nursing, if they get regular, if they're even the slightest bit stronger than BH, or if you start dilating or effacing, then the decision seems easier. But no sense in worrying yourself over it until one of those happens.

I have an irritable uterus, I contract just by thinking about contracting I nursed through my pregnancy and contracted every single time (even at only 6 weeks when my OB swore to me that it shouldn't be possible for me to feel the contractions...but I still feel tiny contractions when nursing months after the baby's born) My OB and every lactation consultant I've ever talked to said that there's no reason to wean unless my body tells me there is. Does that make sense??

Oh, one big big thing to remember--WATER. LOTS of WATER. Way more than you think you need. Being pregnant requires a lot of water as it is, but nursing while pregnant means double as much water. That will help calm your uterus, too.

You said "lots of magnesium"...did you have Pre-E? If so, then your pre-term labor risk isn't necessarily from contractions, it's more from the elevated blood pressure. But if it was early dilation, incompetent cervix, irritable uterus, etc, then you just need to be more careful.

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#7 of 7 Old 09-22-2007, 11:56 PM
 
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You might consider reading Hilary Flower's "Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Nursing During Pregnancy and Beyond". It has a lot of helpful info. Also, consider that you've been nursing for some time, and there's a level of oxytocin that your body is accustomed to getting and has built up a tolerance for. And other activities release oxytocin as well, such as exercise and sex/having an orgasm. So in theory, if your doc okays these activities, nursing shouldn't be too much of a worry. Still, it's a tough decision to make and a very personal one for every woman who finds herself needing to make it. Good luck with your pregnancy!

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