Preparing for a new baby can be a daunting task on its own. But getting ready for a new baby while nursing your soon-to-be siblings comes with its own set of questions, worries, and challenges. Similarly, breastfeeding during pregnancy is one thing for her, but is it safe to express while pregnant?
Now that you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, and feeling all sorts of pregnancy side effects, let’s get down to business: You were actively breastfeeding another child and were already expressing when you got pregnant. If so, you should be fine to express.
Can you express milk while pregnant?
You can express breast milk during pregnancy, but it’s important to understand that pumping comes with risks, and you should talk to your doctor first.
“Expressing milk during pregnancy is generally not recommended unless you are expressing to a still-lactating baby,” explains Crystal Berry-Roberts, M.D., board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist at the Austin Area Clinic. . Berry-Roberts emphasizes the risks involved if you choose to express while pregnant. “Expressing milk during pregnancy can stimulate the release of oxytocin, which causes the uterus to contract,” she explains.
However, these possible risks must also be weighed against the nutritional needs of a breastfeeding child. “Unless you have significant risk factors and your doctor orders pelvic rest, which means you don’t have sex, you can’t express or breastfeed.” There’s no reason to limit ,” says Tera Hamann, a registered nurse and certified lactation consultant. .
However, both pumping and breastfeeding during pregnancy can It causes contractions, so it’s important to pay attention to your body. “Random labor pains are usually not a problem, but if they become intense or regular, they should be stopped,” he explains Hamann. Outside of her first trimester, it’s possible that Braxton just flips contractions (she recommends pushing fluid), but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Are there any benefits to expressing breast milk during pregnancy?
Expressing during pregnancy late in pregnancy can help prepare the body for labor. “Expressing during pregnancy can be considered in the third trimester of pregnancy to see if labor occurs in her 37 weeks or older,” he explains Dr. Berry-Roberts. “This can lead to changes in the cervix that can have a positive impact on labor.” increase.
So, it helps your body prepare for birth, but does pumping during pregnancy affect your milk supply? There’s a lot of misunderstanding,” explains Herman. Unless you’re already breastfeeding another child, Herman says, “milk supply doesn’t begin to establish until after the hormonal surge that the placenta separates.”
Expressing during pregnancy and being able to store breast milk for future use can help reduce pressure to formulate after delivery. Especially if you have your heart set on breastfeeding. “Many women are not properly educated about breastfeeding and are pressured into giving supplements for a variety of reasons,” explains Hamann. You can provide that nutrition without using it.” As always, eating is best, but do whatever works for your family.
Even if you are not currently breastfeeding another child, you can manually express or express breast milk during pregnancy to collect colostrum before birth. Caitlyn Parker, an IBCLC at the Lactation Network, said it’s usually safe for people who are over 37 weeks pregnant and aren’t considered to be at high risk.
“There are benefits to hand-expressing colostrum during pregnancy,” says Parker. Secondly, if you can hand express your colostrum, you can save it in case your baby needs supplementation after birth. If you know your baby may need special care after birth, this may be a good option to consider.
Are there risks to pumping during pregnancy?
As Berry-Roberts explained above, expressing milk early in pregnancy puts you at risk of miscarriage. However, if you are already breastfeeding and pumping during pregnancy, you should discuss the risks and benefits of continuing to pump with your doctor. “Any type of pumping—electric, manual, or hand pumping—can cause contractions that can lead to labor,” says Parker. , it is always recommended to check with your healthcare provider.
Additionally, pumping during pregnancy can cause sore nipples and dehydration. You probably already know that you need to drink plenty of water while breastfeeding, but pregnancy itself is very taxing, so it’s even more important to be aware of your body. , so it’s important to listen to your body and drink plenty of fluids,” says Hamann. “When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call your doctor or see a doctor if you have any concerns.”
Now let’s talk about the nipple situation. “Pregnancy already tends to make your nipples sore, and expressing can make it worse,” Herman explains. “Care should be taken to avoid pain that could interfere with the comfort and ability of the newborn to breastfeed.”
The bottom line is that pumping during pregnancy can be risky. This is especially true in early pregnancy. Therefore, you should consult your healthcare provider before doing so. If you want to do it and you can do it safely, that’s great. If not, don’t stress. “Not everyone leaks before delivery, and not everyone gets output from pumping during pregnancy,” explains Hamann. Due to hormones, breast milk can be depleted.
But thankfully, Hammann says, “Being able to get milk or store it means nothing for the future supply of milk.” Now he has one less thing to worry about.
Crystal Berry-Roberts, MD, MBA, FACOG, Austin Regional Clinic Accredited OB-GYN
Terra Hamman, BSN, RN, IBCLC
Caitlyn Parker, IBCLC of The Lactation Network