The short answer is no, breastfeeding will not affect a pregnancy test. Breastfeeding cannot cause a false positive or a false negative.
If you want to understand why this is, read on!
How do pregnancy tests work?
Before you can understand if breastfeeding will affect the outcome or accuracy of a pregnancy test, you first need to understand how these tests work. Pregnancy test are designed to measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG in your urine. This hormone is only present in the woman’s body when she is pregnant, and there isn’t any other way that you can get this hormone.
While your body will start producing hCG immediately after you become pregnant, you may not produce enough for the first few weeks for the test to be positive. This is what causes some women to believe that breastfeeding is interfering with the accuracy of their pregnancy test. However, the real problem is that there are incredibly low levels of hCG and the test simply isn’t able to detect the hormone yet.
If you are breastfeeding and think that you may be pregnant, but have a negative test, then you will want to wait a little longer and test again. You must give your body a chance to produce enough hCG for the test to be positive. It doesn’t matter if you are breastfeeding or not, as this plays no role in the production of this hormone and won’t affect the test.
Commonly asked question: Does breastfeeding affect hCG?
As noted above, it does not.
Can breastfeeding make you feel pregnant?
That depends. The breastfeeding experience is different for every woman, as it the experience of being pregnant.
When you are pregnant, you don’t have a period, and the same is true for some women who are not pregnant but are breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding can cause swollen, tender breasts, and tender nipples, which are also a symptom during pregnancy.
When you are breastfeeding, you are probably sleeping poorly (or not at all) due to nighttime feedings. As you already know, extreme tiredness of a sign of pregnancy in the first trimester.
Some people who breastfeeding experience stomach troubles (such as diarrhea). Others experience some nausea during let down (because of the release of hormones). So it is possible that you might feel some stomach upset during breastfeeding that might feel similar to the nausea of a new pregnancy.
Breastfeeding plays with your hormones as well, much like pregnancy does. You might experience acne, dry skin, or other body changes as a result, similar to pregnancy.
Speaking from personal experience, I didn’t find that breastfeeding felt like pregnancy. The primary symptoms I experienced during the first trimester were extreme tiredness, nausea, crazy thirst, and vivid dreams. For me, breastfeeding didn’t cause any of those things, so I never had any concern about breastfeeding causing me to think I was pregnant when I wasn’t.
How long after birth will a pregnancy test show positive?
For most women, if you take a pregnancy test right after you give birth, you get a positive result. The hCG hormone doesn’t disappear from your body right away when the baby leaves your womb. Instead, it can take several weeks to fully disappear, a month or more.
If you engage in physical relations with your partner unprotected during the first month before all that hCG completely disappears and then take a pregnancy test, you may end up with a false positive.
If it has been longer than 3-4 weeks and the pregnancy test is showing positive (and you have engaged in physical relations), then you may actually be pregnant again already, even if you are breastfeeding. You may or may not know this, but many breastfeeding women do not receive the benefit of birth control, and their fertility returns fairly quickly after giving birth (I was one of these).
Can you get pregnant 2 weeks after having a baby?
It is very unlikely that you will get pregnant 2 weeks after having a baby.
Some women return to fertility very quickly after giving birth. In studies looking at women who return to fertility quickly after birth, there were some women who began ovulating again as soon as four weeks after giving birth, but very few women who began to ovulate before then.
Does it mean that it is impossible to get pregnant two weeks after giving birth? No, it is not impossible. If you engage in physical relations, that sperm can live happily inside of you for several days, waiting for an egg to drop. So you could actually get pregnant if the sperm gets up there on day 14 after birth if you ovulate soon afterwards.
If having another baby right away is something you do NOT want to do, it is recommend that you don’t roll the dice and use some form of contraception at all times, even if you are breastfeeding, and even if you just gave birth recently.
What about getting pregnant quickly after having a c-section? Can you get pregnant 2 weeks after cesarean?
As noted above, it is unlikely, but not impossible.
While you could get pregnant quickly after giving birth if you start ovulating again, it is generally recommended that women who gave birth via cesarean section wait at least six months. This gives their body a chance to heal fully, and avoid complications in the next birth such as a ruptured uterus.
For more info about breastfeeding, check out our Breastfeeding FAQs post: 100 Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms.
Thanks for stopping by!
But before you go, check out another article written by one of our community contributors:
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Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer when the kids are sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.