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!
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.
Acupuncture is as a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is an insertion of sterile and hair-thin needles into acupuncture points, specific points on the body. Chinese medicine recognizes 2,000 acupuncture points connected with pathways called meridians that conduct vital energy or qi (pronounced chee) throughout the body. These points reside on ‘channels’ or ‘meridians’ and as such are pathways in the both interior and exterior body, and when these points are needled, practitioner actually ‘regulate the way in which the body functions’. There are a few points on the body that aren’t advisable during pregnancy, and should be avoided.
Acupuncture is actually a safe practice during pregnancy as well as in preconception period. Traditionally in pregnancy, acupuncture is used to relieve nausea, mood swings, bladder discomfort, etc. In preconception time acupuncture can address problems that affect fertility such as under-functioning (hypothyroidism) or over-functioning (hyperthyroidism). In the first trimester, acupuncture can also relieve fatigue, migraines and bleeding.
As it helps maintain balance during the second trimester, acupuncture can alleviate heartburn, hemorrhoids and stress. In some cases acupuncture can also be used to treat edema, elevated blood pressure or excessive weight gain.
In third trimester acupuncture can help relief back pain, sciatica pubic and joint pain and even carpal tunnel syndrome. Acupuncture can even help with a proper positioning of the baby.
It is essential for woman to receive regular preventive care during postpartum. Postpartum is actually one of the most critical times for a woman to see an acupuncturist. This way theoretically serious postpartum depression can be prevented.
Acupuncture is a safe practice, as long as the practitioner has gone through a three- or four-year training program and as long as the practitioner is a licensed acupuncturist.
There are minimal risks when using acupuncture for fertility treatment. A risk of miscarriage may develop if wrong acupuncture points are used when a woman is pregnant. Therefore it is essential that you are treated by an acupuncturist who specializes in treating fertility disorders. Acupuncture is not contraindicated for anyone regardless of their pathology or what medications they are taking.
Its still not entirely clear how the technique works, but there is some evidence that it increases the production of endorphins, or brain chemicals that make you feel good and help reduce stress. It may also improve blood supply to the ovaries, which improves their function, and the uterus, which can make it easier to nourish a fetus and reduce the risk of miscarriage.
Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat infertility, often in combination with herbs.
Research suggests that acupuncture may be helpful to couples undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF). German researchers discovered that acupuncture significantly increases the odds of pregnancy among a group of 160 women who were undergoing IVF treatment. 42% of women who received acupuncture got pregnant, compared to 26 percent of those who didnt receive the treatment. Scientists believe that acupuncture helped increase blood flow to the uterus and relax the muscle tissue, giving the embryos a better chance of implanting.
The verdict is still out on whether it can improve fertility in general. Studies show promising results, but more research is needed before we can say for sure. Some studies indicate that acupuncture can help to improve an egg quality in woman, that it can help if a woman has problems with blocked Fallopian tubes or whether she has trouble ovulating. Since acupuncture increases blood flow to the endometrium, it helps to facilitate a thick, rich lining.
Some studies also suggest that acupuncture can also help men if trying to conceive: this Chinese technique partly increases number of healthy swimmers, as well as improve their quality.
Some studies claim that acupuncture cannot increase a mans sperm count over the threshold needed for conception, but others suggest that acupuncture can significantly improve the quality and health of sperm and that sperm is associated with fewer structural defects and an increase in the number of healthy swimmers.
Acupuncture has been often applied both among men and women when dealing with stress, and since stress has proved to interfere with trying to conceive, it makes a perfect sense that reducing tension with the help of acupuncture could increase your chances of conceiving a baby.