How far ahead can you plan for your next baby? Some people might have one child they’re breastfeeding while taking fertility drugs for the next one. But is this a good idea? Romper turned to board certified reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Andrea Reh, who sees patients in SGF’s Arlington, VA office, to shed some light on how safe and effective this kind of multitasking might be for new parents.
Q: Is it safe to breastfeed while taking fertility drugs? Which drugs in particular may be safe or unsafe?
Dr. Reh: In general, we advise that patients stop breastfeeding for 1-2 months before taking fertility drugs. As with all medications, there is always some small degree of excretion of the drug into breast milk. Some drugs, such as estrogen/progesterone contraceptive pills, or “birth control pills,” can reduce the milk supply. In addition, breastfeeding often prevents a woman from ovulating, which can counteract the goal of most fertility drugs.
Q: What should breastfeeding mothers know about the potential dangers of taking fertility drugs?
Dr. Reh: For women who have struggled with infertility, the long-awaited arrival of their new baby is undoubtedly an exciting and happy time. For women with a history of infertility who anticipate wanting more children, we advise reconnecting with their fertility specialist at some point in the months after delivery to make plans for the next pregnancy. Together, the patient and her doctor will devise an individualized plan for her next pregnancy, taking into account the health of her prior pregnancy, her options for fertility treatment, and often, the breastfeeding goals for the new mother.
What do you wish more people understood about fertility medication in general?
Dr. Reh: In general, fertility medications are safe and effective for non-breastfeeding women under the guidance of a fertility specialist. For many women struggling to conceive, fertility medications can make pregnancy possible or greatly improve the chances of conceiving.
A Stepped Approach to Care
At Shady Grove Fertility, we put science, medicine, and results to work for you. While we have grown to become one of the largest fertility centers in the country, with 12 SGF babies born every day, we are committed to providing personalized fertility care to each and every patient, always balancing chances of success with the simplicity of the treatment choice.
SGF practices an individualized, stepped-care approach to treatment, which has resulted in more than 85,000 babies born.
If you would like to learn more or schedule an appointment with an SGF physician, please call the New Patient Center at 888-971-7755 or complete this brief online form.