Breastfeeding and Miscarriage

Question

I am a 38 year old woman with three children who has also had five miscarriages. I am currently four weeks pregnant (six weeks after my last miscarriage). Four of my miscarriages have happened while I have been breastfeeding and although I asked my doctor about this at the time, the idea that my nursing and consequent hormone levels would have anything to do with it was in all honesty mocked. My last pregnancy occurred while I was still nursing, though I stopped nursing the day before I found out. I miscarried two weeks later.
Is it possible that my nursing during the first couple of weeks of this pregnancy could still have impacted the viability of this pregnancy? If so, how long does it take for a woman’s hormones to regulate at my age? Is my current embryo at greater risk, hormonally? I have been taking vitex, though stopped this once I got my positive hpt. I stopped nursing on April 16th, so 3.5 months ago.

Am I actually reasonable in assuming that five miscarriages could have in part been caused by unfavorable hormone levels.

Emma

Answer

Dear Emma,

Your miscarriages may have been due to unfavorable hormonal levels. The first thing you should do is have a progesterone level drawn and start progesterone 200 mg intramuscular injections twice a week until you are sure your progesterone levels are fine. You would be served best by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant who is familiar with NaProTECHNOLOGY. See www.naprotechnology.com; find a qualified medical consultant at www.fertilitycare.org.

Breast feeding elevates prolactin levels which inhibit ovulation and causes the release of oxytocin which can lead to uterine contractions. Women who are breast feeding have lower fertility. It is generally felt that breast feeding does not increase the risk of miscarriage, at least in women of average risk. In the case of a woman who has had multiple miscarriages, the prudent thing would be to stop breast feeding when pregnant again.

In health,

George Delgado, M.D

Answered By:

George Delgado, M.D., F.A.A.F.P.
President and Founder of Steno Institute and Medical Director of Culture of Life Family Services (COLFS), San Diego, is a Professional Member / Supporter of CANFP. Board certified in both family medicine and hospice and palliative medicine, Dr. Delgado received his medical degree from the University of California, Davis, and completed his residency at Santa Monica Hospital/UCLA. Dr. Delgado is a Natural Family Planning Medical Consultant, trained in NaProTechnology.

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