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Thread: Extended nursing and ovulation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Question Extended nursing and ovulation

    Hello!

    I currently have a 3 1/2 year-old that is still nursing and I am fine with nursing as long as she wants to. Just recently, my husband and I decided that we would stop "not trying" to get pregnant and if it happens...it happens.

    With that being said...over the past year my cycle has not been regular. I have been late a few times...early other times... definitely not like clockwork.

    I recently had my gyno appt. and asked my doctor if my daughter's nursing...strong at times and not so much at other times if affecting my cycle and she said that it was likely.

    I have had friends who got pregnant while nursing...but, is it possible that nursing could be throwing off my cycle and therefore will make it difficult to get pregnant?

    Thanks so much!!!
    Jaime
    First time mommy to Lucy Madison, born 8/25/2010.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Extended nursing and ovulation

    Is it likely that your daughter's nursing is affecting your cycle? Maybe. I think "possible" would be a better word. She's 3.5 and no matter how often she's nursing, it's probably not that much compared to an infant or young toddler. In general, once a mom's cycle comes back and has been back for a while, it falls into a pattern that is similar to your pre-baby norm. If you were clockwork pre-baby, you're likely to still have regular cycles. If you were erratic per-baby, then you're likely to see erratic cycles.

    There are other explanation for erratic cycles, and if you want to conceive again I think it makes sense to eliminate them. Charting may help. I would pick up a copy of Toni Weschler's book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" and a good thermometer, and start charting your cycle, paying special attention to thermal shifts and duration of fertile-quality cervical mucus. Then check out the "Troubleshooting Your Cycle" section in the back of the book, and see if anything strikes you as wonky. Also, if you haven't had your thyroid tested since you gave birth to your first child, I would have done now; thyroid problems affect about 5% of women in the postpartum year and about 1% become permanently hypothyroid. And of course thyroid function affects fertility, and often shows up as an unusual cycle.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Extended nursing and ovulation

    Thank you for your response.

    Before having my daughter, I was on the pill for about 10 years. My doctor pulled me off in April 2009 because my blood pressure was high...I was working a very stressful job. We were careful for a few months and then about 2 months after not using protection...I was pregnant with my daughter. While on the pill, my periods were always like clockwork...very regular...only one heavy day and gone in a few days without any major inconveniences.

    After having my daughter, my period returned when she was about 10 months, then I missed a month or two and then it came back again. Since then...it has never gone back to the regular cycle I was used to. I am often late or early by a week or so...actually the last 3 months have been the first time in a long time where I have been getting it around the same day every month.

    I had some anxiety issues prior to having my daughter and was characterized as having an anxiety problem after having my daughter (but they said it was not post-partum) and trying to return to work which led me to short term disability and seeing a counselor since I refused meds because I was nursing. After making the decision to stay home with my kiddo and losing the worry about my high-stress job, I felt better for a while yet I always feel overwhelmed. To this day, I still always feel overwhelmed. I know that it is a cliche for a mom to say their house isn't the way they want it to be and so on... but I always feel like I see everything around me that needs to be done...I often feel like I never sit down...yet, my to-do list never seems to shrink.

    A friend suggested thyroid once before because I have been creeping on the weight, I am always cold, my cycles have been off. I contacted my doctor who called in that test as well as blood glucose but after consulting with my insurance company...I cannot afford the tests. They would cost me over $2000 (I have a $2000 deductible). I have had other issues too.

    I went to the doctor because I would often feel like I hear my heartbeat in my left ear. It sounds really weird...but it is true. The doctor said that he was not concerned. I also feel like my vision has been changing lately. I do not feel like I see as well as I did particularly out of my right eye and spending time on the computer which is how I have always worked seems difficult after a while. But, I am not sure what is normal...I am getting older.

    One last thing, I often get a discomfort in my side. Not sure if it is muscular or not or related to my cycle. I just started with my period and the days leading up I had a discomfort on my right side. So, so many things seem weird to me.

    I was just at my gyno recently and she said everything looked fine and my pap results were normal, as usual. The only thing "off" was that my blood pressure was high (122/94). Not sure if it is an issue...or if it was in response to my 3-year-old acting up while waiting for an appt. that always makes me nervous anyway. I just pulled out my wrist bp cuff and after getting new batteries I plan on using that at home to see if this is constant. But, honestly...after giving up my job my blood pressure has been fine.

    I think my biggest fear is being proactive with my health, yet not being a hypochondriac. I have been told that I handle pain very well...even when they turned my epidural off during labor...the labor pains did not bother me much. So, I am always worried that what I think is a dull pain may be more or something that I shrug off could be a warning of something else. Yet, since I know I have anxiety...I do not want to freak our about every thing...it is a hard balance.

    I must also say that I am always under a lot of stress. I am with my daughter 24/7 and have only been away from her a few times in the past 3 1/2 years. My husband and I have probably been out on 3 or 4 dates in the past 3 1/2 years and except for photographing a few weddings in the first year after she was born...I am always with her. I have also been trying to manage a photography business startup and a house that we need to renovate to rent out. I handle (or lack there of)... all household chores, paying the bills, groceries, laundry, taking care of our furkids who are now older and always leaving a mess and taking our daughter to events (library twice a week), park play dates and anything else I can get her involved with.

    I was staying up until 4-5am every day to just be able to get a few hours of time to myself to try to get caught up on photo editing, laundry, paying bills, cutting coupons. But, after doing it for so long I realized that my body can't handle it anymore and I have been trying to make sure I am getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night. My daughter sleeps well once she is asleep but if I give her a nap during the day she fights me for bed...without a nap she is very disobedient during the day and I get even less accomplished.

    I will be 35 in April and even though we decided to wait a few years after having my daughter to try for a second... I really did not want to wait too long. Please excuse my long response...but, it just seems like so many things are going on whether it is health related, family related or due to my anxiety that I do not know where to start.

    I did notice that this month that when my daughter is nursing that my nipples are very tender and it is actually somewhat uncomfortable. That happened a few times when my periods returned at the beginning, and then every so many months it happens again. I am not sure if that is normal or not either.

    Sorry for writing so much. I guess I keep a lot in. Hubby works a lot and while he is a good guy...he does not understand. I tell him I need time for me and he tells me that I am home all day so that is my time. He also does not help at all with household chores or caring for our daughter (baths, brushing teeth)....even though he does take time to play games with her and read her books.

    Any suggestions you have are appreciated. I always feel like I can get back on track "tomorrow" but it never happens. It is frustrating and I often feel sad that I can't just "get-it-together". I have also had friends tell me that they have read that nursing can contribute to anxiety and depression due to the hormone levels always fluctuating...not sure if that is true though.
    Jaime
    First time mommy to Lucy Madison, born 8/25/2010.

  4. #4
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Extended nursing and ovulation

    While on the pill, my periods were always like clockwork...very regular...only one heavy day and gone in a few days without any major inconveniences
    .

    Okay, so the "periods" you get on the pill- they're not real periods. The way most oral hormonal contraceptives work is that you get 3 weeks of pills with hormones in them, and one week of hormone-free sugar pills. The hormone-containing pills prevent ovulation. During the sugar pill week, you get something called withdrawal bleeding, caused by the sudden absence of artificial hormones. This is why you get clockwork cycles on the pill. So those 10 years of using the pill? They don't really tell you anything about your real, underlying fertility patterns.

    After having my daughter, my period returned when she was about 10 months, then I missed a month or two and then it came back again. Since then...it has never gone back to the regular cycle I was used to. I am often late or early by a week or so...actually the last 3 months have been the first time in a long time where I have been getting it around the same day every month.
    This is not a particularly erratic cycle. It's very normal for women to see cycle lengths that vary by a couple of weeks.

    A friend suggested thyroid once before because I have been creeping on the weight, I am always cold, my cycles have been off. I contacted my doctor who called in that test as well as blood glucose but after consulting with my insurance company...I cannot afford the tests. They would cost me over $2000 (I have a $2000 deductible). I have had other issues too.
    IMO, you need to either eat the deductible or find a practitioner who can do the tests for a lesser amount. I'm a little shocked by the amount that was quoted to you- bloodwork doesn't generally run that much- I think I paid $100 for my last round, and that was out of pocket because we also have a high deductible. So it might do to shop around.

    Anyway, the reason I think you need the tests is that you mention several things that are suspicious- weight gain, anxiety, blood pressure issues, vision changes, and a cycle that seems off to you. All of those things could be related to thyroid- I mean, they sound creepily familiar to me because they are among the issues I had when my thyroid had gone off. I also think you need the tests because you want to have another baby. Thyroid issues can impact your chances of conceiving- subfertility is a common effect of an out-of-whack thyroid- carrying a baby to term, and having a healthy baby.

    Eat the deductible, mama.

    Some of the things you mention are normal. Pain in the side may be mittelshmerz, abdominal pain related to ovulation. High blood pressure in the doc's office could easily be something called white coat hypertension, meaning elevated blood pressure that happens in a stressful medical setting. Nipple tenderness at a certain point in your cycle is also normal; it can come right before or during your periods, or during ovulation.

    Hubby works a lot and while he is a good guy...he does not understand. I tell him I need time for me and he tells me that I am home all day so that is my time. He also does not help at all with household chores or caring for our daughter (baths, brushing teeth)....
    Okay, he needs to evolve a bit! One thing a lot of women do is that they ask their husbands for time, instead of telling them how it's going to be. For example, I used to tell my DH on Friday night that I really needed some "me time" over the weekend, and he'd be all "sure!" Well, Sunday night would roll around, and he'd have gone to the gym and gotten a haircut and I'd still be waiting for my me time. So I wised up and started telling him things like "I am going to the gym tomorrow at 10, and you will need to watch the kids." And he was fine with it- the problem boiled down to him waiting for me to tell him my needs, instead of trying to get him to anticipate them.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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