Is it safe to use a breastpump during pregnancy?

It is often stated that a woman should not use a breastpump when pregnant. However, there is considerable reason to believe that pumping, like breastfeeding, will not trigger preterm labor in a healthy pregnancy.

When contemplating pumping during pregnancy, it is important to consider your motives for doing so. In general, when it comes to pumping during pregnancy, your efforts are best directed elsewhere unless you are pumping to provide milk for your current nursling.

  • If you are pumping to provide milk for your current nursling when you are separated, this should not pose more of a problem than breastfeeding. Many working moms continue to pump through pregnancy, although pumping output will decrease due to the hormonal changes of pregnancy. Aim to keep your pumping in scale with what you were doing before pregnancy, or in scale with your baby’s normal breastfeeding. Sustained and intense pumping is more of an unknown and is not recommended.
  • If you wish to put some expressed milk in the freezer for your unborn child, keep in mind that pumping is not likely to be very productive during pregnancy. Milk supply and pumping output will decrease due to the hormonal changes of pregnancy.
  • Pumping prior to birth will not increase milk production for your unborn child or otherwise enhance lactation after birth.
  • If you are hoping to induce labor, it is known that nipple stimulation at term (38+ weeks) can be helpful for ripening the cervix and inducing labor.

See also Is it safe to nurse during pregnancy?

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