Not sure how to tell if you’re pregnant while breastfeeding? This article shares the best three ways to know for sure if you are!
How to tell if you’re pregnant while breastfeeding
Pregnancy and breastfeeding can feel mysterious at times.
While you can definitely get pregnant while breastfeeding, it isn’t always as obvious that you are pregnant – especially if your period hasn’t returned yet.
Relying on pregnancy symptoms while pregnant can give you a clue, but there are a few surefire ways to know for sure that you are pregnant while breastfeeding. Let’s dive in!
Hi! 👋 I’m Katie, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant I have helped thousands of moms worldwide navigate their breastfeeding journey since 2015. I can’t wait to help you! Consider checking out my 1:1 lactation support services or enrolling in one of our online breastfeeding courses today!
Understanding Your Body’s Temperature Clues
Tracking your basal body temperature is one of the best ways to get an idea of what your body is doing through your menstrual cycle. This is something I highly recommend doing while you are breastfeeding since the menstrual cycle can be more erratic.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Basics:
Tracking your basal body temperature involves measuring your temperature upon waking each morning before any activity. Typically after your ovulate, your temperature will rise and then drop sharply shortly before your period begins.
As your body’s hormonal balance shifts during pregnancy, your BBT may rise and stay elevated. If you have noticed this trend, it’s likely you could be pregnant.
Understanding the Shifts:
The key to having success with tracking your cycle and pregnancy through BBT is by regular tracking so you can detect any shifts.
By tracking your shifts you can monitor any sustained temperature rise that lasts for more than two weeks. There are paper templates you can print off, and there are also many apps available where you can track this information.
When you conceive, your progesterone levels rise, leading to a noticeable increase in BBT. Keep a BBT chart to monitor any sustained temperature rise for more than two weeks.
Consistency is Key:
Regularly tracking your temperature readings is vital for accurate tracking. Use a digital basal thermometer, record the readings, and look for a temperature shift within your menstrual cycle.
If you are using a thermometer, you should check your temperature before you get out of bed in this morning. If you are getting out of bed regularly throughout the night (common while breastfeeding), your temperatures may not be as accurate.
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Over-the-Counter Pregnancy Tests
Of course, taking a pregnancy test is the best way to know if you are pregnant. The most convenient pregnancy test is one that you can purchase at the store (or in bulk on Amazon).
Early Detection Potential:
Modern over-the-counter (OTC) pregnancy tests are designed to detect low levels of the hormone hCG, even before your missed period. There is always room for error, so if you have a negative pregnancy test but you have also missed your period, you may still be pregnant.
If you haven’t had your period yet, it can be trickier to know when to take a home pregnancy test, too. This can result in inaccurate results.
Selecting the Right Test:
Choose a sensitive test that boasts high accuracy for early detection. Look for terms like “early response” or “ultra-sensitive” on the packaging. Remember – more expensive tests don’t always mean better. I have personally had good success with Pregmate tests, which you can buy in bulk for very inexpensively.
Testing with Precision:
Follow the instructions correctly for the most accurate results. First-morning urine is often the best sample to use, as it is usually the most concentrated. I find that actually peeing in a cup rather than just peeing directly on the stick yields better results.
You want to make sure you aren’t using an expired test, either!
Blood Pregnancy Tests
And finally, the most surefire way to know if you are pregnant is with a blood pregnancy test. If you have any doubts, call your doctor and get one scheduled right away.
Gold Standard Accuracy:
Blood pregnancy tests, performed at a healthcare provider’s office, are considered the gold standard for pregnancy confirmation due to their precision in detecting hCG levels.
Types of Blood Tests:
There are two types: Qualitative tests confirm the presence of hCG, while quantitative tests measure the exact level. Quantitative tests can indicate the stage of pregnancy and monitor its progression. This is going to be preferred if you are breastfeeding and not sure how far along you are.
When in doubt, always reach out to your trusted care provider. If you are pregnant – congratulations! Be sure to consider booking a virtual lactation consult to help you determine the best path moving forward for breastfeeding.
More Articles You May Enjoy:
- When to Take a Pregnancy Test While Breastfeeding
- How to Prepare to Breastfeed During Pregnancy
- Breastfeeding and Gestational Diabtes: What You Should Know
Katie Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.