Many women struggle to get pregnant while still breastfeeding, but it seems like just as many have an “oops” and are surprised by a pregnancy they were not planning – because they thought breastfeeding would stop them from getting pregnant. To those of us wanting to get pregnant while nursing, the message is clear: it is possible! The question is how? What are the secrets and how to get pregnant without weaning?
In the first six month’s of a baby’s life, getting pregnant again is well, almost inconceivable. Excuse the pun. Especially if you are nursing your baby on demand, around the clock, and your baby has not yet started solids, the stork is probably not going to come knocking on your door. Breastfeeding on demand, when used as a contraceptive method, has actually been shown to be more effective than any other birth control technique, including the pill, condoms, and mirena coils!
Does that mean that you have to wean before trying to conceive again? The answer is no, but it does mean that it is extremely rare for exclusively nursing moms to get pregnant again. Once the baby starts solids, and relies less on breast milk, there are better chances that the mom’s cycle will start again. The reason exclusive breastfeeding is such an effective contraceptive method is that it often stops ovulation from returning. Once the baby nurses less, and less often, you are on the road back to ovulating.
Many women get anovulatory periods for a while before starting their ovulation. So, even if you are menstruating it does not mean you are fertile. If you get a period, that is a good sign that things are happening, and this is a great time to start buying ovulation tests to see if you are reading to conceive.
Some lucky mothers happen to catch that first post-partum ovulation without ever having had a period. That sounds really wonderful, doesn’t it? I don’t know anyone who likes having periods, and the thought of being menstruation-free for a few years is definitely an appealing one. Conceiving during the first cycle after giving birth does not happen very often though.
If you are getting impatient, but still don’t want to wean, here are a few things you could try:
Because research has shown that women who are pumping are more likely to get pregnant than their directly breastfeeding counterparts, you could replace a few feedings with pumped breast milk.
The longer the period between feedings, the more likely you are to get pregnant. For some families, night weaning their child is a great solution, that drastically improves the odds of conceiving again.
Sudden changes in breastfeeding patterns have a greater effect than gradual ones. Cutting out one feeding could work wonders, but simply experimenting with the timing of your nursing sessions could do the trick too.
Of course, both you and your child have to be ready for changes like this. Patience is always important when trying to conceive, but even more so while breastfeeding. The good news is that the majority of nursing mothers trying to get pregnant do succeed, especially if they are charting and understand their fertility status.
What do you think? Did you manage to conceive a baby while breastfeeding? Are you still trying? Do you have any tips? We’d love to hear from you!
Have you just done your pregnancy test and discovered that the symptoms you had were not a product of your wild imagination? Or are you still waiting and hoping? Early pregnancy brings a myriad of physical changes with it, and this is a list of the Top Ten most obvious very early pregnancy symptoms.
1) Feeling so tired that you can hardly get up. Fatigue is one of the hardest early pregnancy symptoms to cope with, but it is no wonder that you are so tired – your body is working over hours trying to sustain the new life inside you! There is no point trying to fight being tired. For once in your life, use the opportunity to allow yourself to be pampered. You need it!
2) Morning sickness, pregnancy sickness, or just plain nausea and vomiting. Some women really do experience this only in the morning, but pregnancy sickness can turn up at any time of the day and night. Some women only feel sick but do not throw up. Some throw up very rarely, and others have to vomit ten times a day. If you are among them, make sure that you drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
3) Having to pee all the time. This may be one of the first signs of pregnancy. Because your uterus has expanded, youll have to go to the rest room much more frequently than before.
4) Mood swings, and being overly emotional. If you find yourself crying because your usual parking space has been taken, or because your co-worker has been so kind to bring you a cup of tea, its time to take a pregnancy test!
5) Changes in cervical mucus. An increase, to be more precise. After you conceived, cervical mucus tends to be thick and white.
6) A more sensitive sense of smell and taste. Especially when it comes to foods you have developed an aversion to.
7) Skin blemishes, or a suddenly glowing skin. Hormonal changes often impact the skin, as seen when you get your period. Pregnancy is no different. Have you notice a sudden break out? It could be your period, but it could just as easily be a pregnancy symptom.
8 ) Headaches. These crop up often in early pregnancy, and once again, the huge hormonal changes your body is going through are responsible for for them.
9) Dizziness, and feeling like you might faint. These are normal pregnancy symptoms, but if you actually do faint, let your doctor know as soon as possible.
10) Tender breasts. Most women have experienced tender breasts before or during their menstrual flow, so this might not be a clear-cut pregnancy symptom for you. Tender breasts tend to stay with you during the whole pregnancy to a lesser or larger degree, and if your tender breasts dont go away, and you dont get a period, then the chances are you are pregnant! Congratulations!
Getting pregnant while you are still breastfeeding an older child brings its own set of challenges – from reduced fertility, to irregular periods or no periods at all yet. If you are nursing, it can certainly be more difficult to know whether or not you are pregnant. What are the early pregnancy signs to watch out for while you are breastfeeding?
The first clue lies in your breasts themselves. When you are newly pregnant, breasts undergo a number of changes that manifest in a different way when you are nursing. In what ways can your breasts be speaking to you? Not every woman is the same. One of the most common signs is sore nipples while breastfeeding. If you have not had sore nipples in a long while, painful and sore nipples should get you wondering about pregnancy.
A pregnancy can affect your milk supply greatly, so if your child is fussy at the breast all of a sudden, or refuses to nurse, then it could be a sign your milk supply has dropped, and you are pregnant. Experts also say that a pregnancy changes the make-up and taste of breast milk, meaning that your child could be fussy because of these changes as well.
Breastfeeding mothers are likely to have a whole host of other pregnancy symptoms, just like any other pregnant woman. Nursing does not liberate you from morning sickness, extreme fatigue, frequent urination, a bloated abdomen, and other possible signs of pregnancy. But if your period had not returned yet, finding out you are pregnant can still pose a bigger challenge.
Women who just found out they are pregnant again might be asking themselves if they need to wean their older child. The answer is that some women successfully breastfeed older children throughout pregnancy, and even go on to tandem nurse their new baby and older child. But others find that breastfeeding while pregnant places too big a demand on their body, and they choose to wean. Then there are children who simply refuse to continue nursing when their mother is pregnant, because of the changes in the amount of milk, and its taste and structure. At the end of the day, every family will need to find out what works for them.
Obviously a young woman will have an abundance of estrogen, but this is not always the case for some individuals. A hormonal imbalance or low estrogen levels in a female can influence many different things, but the most commonly experienced side effects experienced include the following:
- Weight problems
- Diminished sex drive
- Skin problems
- Loss of short term memory
- Mood swings
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Premenstrual asthma
- Migraine headaches during menstruation
- Interstitial cystitis
- Hot flashes
- Dry skin
- Osteoporotic issues
While a woman can experience some or all of the symptoms listed above, the condition needs to be addressed with a medical professional. Low estrogen symptoms in young women could signify a hormonal allergy or another condition which can be treated and managed through modern medical intervention and certain lifestyle adjustments.
When trying to conceive a baby, a woman with low estrogen levels can have a very difficult time becoming pregnant. Women that have an estrogen-related hormonal imbalance may have fine or thin hair and pubic hair may be sparse and grow in a diamond pattern along the belly button area. Others may have long, coarse, dark hair growing around the nipples on the breasts. To reverse a low estrogen level in females, doctors can try a number of different prescription drugs or can prescribe another form of estrogen therapy.
Low estrogen symptoms in young women is something that should never be ignored, it could lead to more problematic issues if not treated properly. When a couple is trying to conceive and a woman undergoes fertility testing, an estrogen test is one of the most common ways used to determine if a hormone imbalance is responsible infertility issues.
For many couples trying to have a baby and hoping to finally see a positive pregnancy test and (more or less hoping to experience sometimes nasty pregnancy signs), the journey will be easy and free from difficulties but for others reproductive services are necessary in order to become pregnant. An estrogen-related hormone imbalance while not common in women is something that can and does happen too many. It is important to seek medical attention and follow the advice of a medical professional in order to ensure everything is safe and that no serious side effects are experienced.
With many couples putting off having a child, the reality of facing reduced fertility as age increases means that infertility is going to be more likely. As a woman ages, her levels of estrogen normally decrease which means that the chances of becoming pregnant drastically decrease with advanced age. For a couple trying to conceive, a decrease in estrogen levels means the biological clock is ticking and time is of the essence.
When it comes time to conceive a baby and a woman is experiencing low estrogen levels, there can be all types of problems which can occur. There are ways in which a female can increase estrogen levels naturally and thereby increasing her chances of becoming pregnant in the process. Estrogen is the hormone which is important to pregnancy because it makes the endometrial lining prepare for growing an embryo, with low levels or no estrogen present, recurrent miscarriages are likely to happen.
There are a variety of different ways in which a woman can increase estrogen levels naturally, which include dietary and lifestyle adjustments. There are also supplements which will greatly benefit and improve estrogen levels naturally:
- Vitamin C: the adrenal glands use massive amounts of vitamin C all day long and during times of stress, extra vitamin C can help improve health and function of the immune system.
- Bromelain: extracted from pineapple and has been proven to promote endometrial growth.
- Antioxidant rich foods which contain alpha lipoic acids, pycogenol, green tea and resveratrol.
- Silymarin: aids in the function of the liver and can help remove toxins and impurities, which allows for better functioning of the endocrine system and ovaries.
- Omega-3 Fatty acids: used by the endocrine system and aids in the balancing of hormones in the body.
- B-complex vitamins: can help improve the negative effects of stress and can help improve the production of sex hormones.
When trying to conceive, estrogen levels play a direct role in a healthy pregnancy and conception. If it is suspected that a woman has insufficient levels of estrogen in the blood, consulting with a fertility specialist and making the necessary dietary and lifestyle can all aid in improving health and increase fertility naturally for a couple trying to have a baby.
First thing a woman should consider is lactation because during the first month of breast-feeding, women should avoid using any hormonal contraceptive that contains estrogen because the estrogen could reduce milk supply.
On the other hand progesterone-based contraceptives and contraceptives, like condoms, are fine to use. Additionally, often breast-feeding suppresses ovulation, which is probably a good reason why birth control pills are not recommendable during first 6 months while breastfeeding. However, best option would be to check with your doctor to be sure.
Women who have problems with blood cloths or a diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis should abstain from any hormonal products with estrogen, since this hormone can increase the risk of clots. Again, progesterone-only contraceptives, such as Depo-Provera shot or the progesterone-releasing Mirena IUD, are safe to use.
Breast cancer survivors should use any hormonal methods of contraception. Condoms or a diaphragm are bets options available, while suffers of ovarian are safe to use all methods and those with cervical cancer should avoid using IUDs, since insertion can irritate the cervical lining.
If you are suffering from uterine fibroids, all methods of contraception are safe to use.
Women with heart problems or high blood pressure should on the other hand avoid estrogen-containing contraceptives because they could increase heart problems in the future.
If a woman has diabetes it is usually safe to use any contraceptive method. However, if there are kidney problems, vascular disease, vision decline, or nerve disorders involved estrogen contraceptives should be avoided.
Women who underwent radical procedure that had shortened the length of the small intestine should avoid oral contraceptives. Women who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis should avoid using Depo-Provera, since the drugs decreases bone density. On the other hand women who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease should avoid using estrogen-containing contraceptives, while women who have undergone successful transplants can generally use any method safely. Only those with complications should avoid using estrogen-containing contraceptives and should also avoid using an IUD.
If you are pregnant, or have just had your baby, the decision of which form of birth control you will use post-partum is quite an important one, unless you are happy to be pregnant again within a matter of months! One of the things to consider when you are making decision about birth control is how long your chosen method will take before being effective.
Few women who have just given birth feel like doing the deed within the first few weeks, so even if you have already had your baby, you probably have some time to decide what contraceptive method you are going to use. If your libido has returned, however, and you feel physically healthy, making sure you have condoms around the house will prevent you from getting pregnant again while you think about other options.
The contraceptive pill is still the most commonly used form of contraception, and the question of “how it will take for birth control to become effective” applies to the pill. If you have opted to take the pill, and are wondering when you can start having intercourse without worrying about pregnancy, your pill’s package insert is the best place to consult. Most pills are effective immediately, providing you start taking them at the right time during your cycle, but most doctors advise you to use additional contraceptive methods such as condoms or abstain from sex for a month.
Another thing to consider is that only very few types of contraceptive pills are compatible with breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding and want to use the pill, make sure to discuss this with your doctor. You may reach the conclusion that you do not want to rely on the pill at all while you are nursing your baby. On a more positive note, nursing on demand is an effective contraceptive method all in itself, and one that is reliable especially during the first six months of your baby’s life.
Every year, the first week in August is World Breastfeeding Week. This year is no different. And World Breastfeeding week equals raising awareness about breastfeeding. Whether you are still trying to conceive, pregnant, or already a mother, breastfeeding is a topic that affects all of us. Breastfeeding provides babies with the best possible, complete nurtition. Breastfeeding is normally an easy, no-hassle solution, and it is free. Above all, breastfeeding is normal.
If you are pregnant, the chances are that you have thought about feeding your baby once he or she is born. Those who would like to breastfeed but are not sure that this is a realistic goal can relax. Around 99 percent of all new mothers can breastfeed their newborns without problems. If you are curious what breastfeeding is really like, I am happy to share my own experiences with you. I have been breastfeeding for four years now. My older daughter breastfeed for nearly two years, and my son, who is 20 months old, is still nursing. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding on demand for six months, and breastfeeding alongside solid foods for two years, and that is what I choose to do.
For those who are a little tired of the breast is best campaign, because after all, we do know that human milk is the best food for human babies, I will approach breastfeeding from a mothers point of view. Breastfeeding means that you always have food for your baby, and never run out. It means that you can easily need your babys most important need anywhere, and any time. Breastfeeding means no cleaing bottles and sterilizing them, and no having to run to the store for formula. It also means not having to get up in the middle of the night to prepare bottles, and not having to lug formula-feeding supplies around with you wherever you go. Breastfeeding means getting more sleep during the night, because all you have to do is put your baby to your breast. And finally, breastfeeding also means that you do not have to worry about how much food your baby is getting, because supply and demand takes care of that question all by itself.
If you do encounter problems with breastfeeding, know that there is support out there. Lactation consultants at your hospital, midwives, or the La Leche League, can all lend you a helping hand if you run into challenges. Dont give up on breastfeeding, because it is so important!
Assuming that you do not want to get pregnant again immediately after giving birth, birth control is something you will have to think about. You will have a lot going when you have a new baby, and the last thing your will probably want to think about its what contraceptive method you are going to use. Mind you, a lot of couples find that a baby waking up at all hours of the day and night does the job just fine. If somehow you still find time for intimacy, congratulation! You are a lucky person indeed. Just in case you will catch a minute or two, you will definitely like having birth control already sorted out.
So, what are the best options? To a large extent, that depends on personal preference. Here are some birth control methods you might want to consider.
1) Exclusively breastfeeding on demand has been shown to be a very reliable birth control method. As long as you are not supplementing with formula, or giving your baby solids, and nurse your baby whenever he or she wants, breastfeeding as a birth control method is just as effective as the contraceptive pill.
2) Charting to avoid gives you insights into your fertility, and can help you avoid getting pregnant.
3) Using condoms is a very popular choice after having a baby. This is a very effective method that does not involve hormones, and therefore allows your body to recover from pregnancy and birth more easily.
4) The contraceptive pill is another common choice. Please be aware that you are only able to use certain birth control pills if you are breastfeeding.
5) A coil. They are available both in hormone-free and hormone-added varieties.
Of course, no method is absolutely fail-safe, except for total abstention. But the above contraceptive methods, if used properly, tend to be very reliable in avoiding pregnancy.
Cervical mucus can give you an awful lot of information, but there is a learning curve to knowing what your cervical mucus is telling you. One of the most common questions asked by women who are interested in checking their cervical mucus to monitor their fertility is about the changes in mucus post-ovulation. What does cervical mucus look like after you have ovulated? How can you tell that you are no longer fertile? And how can you tell from post-ovulatory cervical mucus if you might be pregnant?
Monitoring the structure and color of cervical mucus is part of the wider routine of fertility charting. Fertility charting, also known as charting to conceive, is a natural method many women use to keep track of their ovulation, and the days prior to ovulation. It includes measuring ones basal body temperature (as shown in the chart in the picture), and recording any other natural ovulation symptoms a woman has — tender breasts, ovulation pain, or even slight abdominal bloating are some examples.
Cervical mucus can also stand alone as a way to find out more about a womans menstrual cycle. Depending on the time of the month, cervical mucus contains more or less water, and other ingredients like protein and glucose. This is reflected in the appearance of the mucus, which can be thin or thick, and stretchy or cream cheese like. You collect a mucus sample by inserting two fingers. Then what?
Lets begin by examining what cervical mucus normally looks like during ovulation. A thin, stretchy, slippery structure indicates ovulation. The color of cervical mucus during ovulation is either transparent, like a raw egg white, or white. During this point in your cycle, cervical mucus contains a high percentage of fluid. This kind of cervical mucus provides an ideal environment for sperm to reach an egg, and to survive for the longest possible time.
After your ovulation is finished, your cervical mucus will thicken and change in color. If you notice a clay-like, non-stretchy mucus that is totally white in color and not see-through in any way, you can be fairly certain that this is post-ovulatory cervical mucus. At the same time, you might feel that your vagina is drier than during ovulation. If you conceived, you might even notice implantation bleeding.
Early pregnancy cervical mucus is so similar to the cervical mucus you would normally expel during the luteal phase that monitoring the changes cant really be used as a reliable way to determine pregnancy. Some women do report that they had more cervical mucus than before during early pregnancy, but this is not the same for everyone.
What can you tell us about your experiences with this? Are you able to tell where in your cycle you are, just by looking at your cervical mucus? How do you do it?