Pros And Cons Of Pumping Before Birth: Decoding Benefits & Risks

What Are the Pros And Cons Of Pumping Before Birth?

Pros And Cons Of Pumping Before Birth: Decoding Benefits & Risks

Aug 14, 2023

A time before the child’s birth is crucial and the medical activities performed during this play a crucial role. Some expectant mothers think about antenatal or prenatal pumping, commonly known as pumping breast milk, as a way to get ready for breastfeeding. While there are pros and cons of pumping before birth of a child which you must be aware of.  If you're thinking about taking this route, this prenatal guide will help you examine the benefits and drawbacks of pumping prior to delivery, offering insightful information that will help you make an informed choice for your breastfeeding journey.

What Is Colostrum & Why It Is Essential For Babies?

Colostrum is a nutrient-rich milk produced during the early phases of nursing. In order to store it before giving birth to a child, many mothers choose a pumping technique. Colostrum has the ability to boost breastfeeding production and support the development of strong immune systems in babies. It can help babies heal when they are afflicted with conditions like jaundice and low birth weight.

Pros And Cons Of Pumping Before Birth

But there are risks associated with pumping milk prior to delivery, especially if pregnant moms are ignorant of how to do it properly. If done incorrectly, it could result in unexpected preterm labor, nipple pain, and soreness. So that is why it is essential to know the pros and cons of pumping before birth of a child.

Why Pumping Before Birth Is Recommended?

Colostrum reserves can be useful, particularly for pregnant women who have gestational diabetes (GDM). In order to prevent their blood glucose levels from falling below normal, newborns of GDM-affected mothers need to be fed often. In the first few hours after birth, giving the newborn this extracted milk may stabilize the baby's sugar levels. It might also be helpful in other critical situations. Women who desire to exclusively breastfeed, for instance, might decide to extract breastmilk. So, even if the infant has trouble latching, they will still receive colostrum. However, there are various pros and cons of pumping before birth. 

What Is The Best Time To Pump Milk During Pregnancy?

Colostrum production may start for some pregnant women at the end of the second trimester, while it may not start for other women until after the baby is delivered. If you are expected to deliver a premature baby, you can start hand-expressing at 32 weeks of pregnancy rather than 36. Colostrum needs to be manually gathered because it is thick, concentrated, and tiny. It may vanish inside a pump. It is also vital to consider the total time to check how long breast milk is good for the baby after warming.  So, the best time to pump breast milk during pregnancy largely depends on colostrum production. It is advised to consult with childcare specialists regarding the right time for pumping breast milk. 

Benefits Of Colostrum For Newborn 

Colostrum is the term for the first milk that a pregnant woman's body produces. It grows in your mammary glands (breasts) and is essential to the development of your baby's immune system. If you intend to breastfeed, it will be the first milk your infant ever gets from your breasts. If you don't want to breastfeed or if your baby has problems latching, you can manually express colostrum.

It is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antibodies called immunoglobulins that support the growth of your baby's immune system. It is frequently referred to as "liquid gold" due to its many benefits and beautiful, golden color. The following are some additional advantages of colostrum:

  • It strengthens the newborn's defenses.
  • It gives your baby the perfect nutrients.
  • It is simple to process.
  • Your baby's risk of developing jaundice is reduced.
  • It prevents the absorption of dangerous microorganisms and coats the intestines for a healthy gut.

Due to its laxative effects, which shield full-term neonates from hypoglycemia, it aids in the elimination of meconium in babies.

Pros Of Pumping Breast Milk Before Birth 

You can pump and save colostrum or breast milk before giving birth for a number of reasons, including giving your baby the essential nutrients and antibodies they need to survive. Colostrum contains a lot of these nutrients, which can help your newborn during the first few months of life. The first milk your body produces is packed with immunoglobulins that help bolster your baby's defenses.

  • The early passage of your baby's first bowel movement can be facilitated by colostrum, as it has already been mentioned, and it can also assist prevent jaundice.
  • If you plan to nurse, pumping during pregnancy can help your body get used to the feeling and boost your milk supply. For instance, mothers who wish to exclusively breastfeed may decide to express their milk regularly.
  • If you have diabetes and are pregnant, nursing could be difficult in the early postpartum period. If this is the case, you might want to consider expressing and storing breast milk while you are pregnant.

Hypoglycemic Newborns 

For newborns, stored milk is especially important because they might need a milk feed soon away after birth. Without breast milk, they are more likely to have convulsions or brain damage.

  • The first immunization against the disease is given to the unborn child by a pregnant woman who preserves her colostrum.
  • Additionally, this produced milk nurtures and safeguards the infant's growing digestive system. It is typically preferable to breastfeed neonates because formula feeding may pose problems for them.
  • If you pump your breasts throughout pregnancy in case you later need to, you might become used to hand expressing. Learning hand-expressing techniques can improve nursing efficiency.
  • If you aren't generating enough additional milk after giving birth, you may need to lengthen your pumping sessions by a few minutes.
  • Some pregnant women may decide to store their colostrum in case they subsequently experience difficulty nursing or a restricted milk supply.
  • Having a stock of breast milk in the freezer is also a wise choice for women who have undergone breast surgery, have a history of having low milk production, or have health issues that might make breastfeeding difficult.

Colostrum can be preserved beforehand by pumping it prior to delivery, enabling you to support your baby's successful nursing start. If you feel uncomfortable pumping before giving delivery, you can do it later. Using a breast pump, either an electric or manual pump, you can express your milk or collect colostrum. 

Cons Of Pumping Breast Milk Before Birth

The practice of pumping milk before birth is said to have significant downsides. Some people can be skeptical of the process as a result of these drawbacks and opt to completely forget it. However, most of them are urban legends. Certain procedures must be followed in order to prevent unwanted effects. It could not be a good idea to pump before giving birth if you don't properly prepare or do it.

When collecting colostrum prior to pregnancy, inappropriate pumping techniques can be painful. Additionally, you run the risk of hurting yourself throughout the operation, which might cause swollen nipples. This can be due to inadequate colostrum production or too much pressure being put on your fingers during expression. 

  • Risk Of Premature Labour- Nipple stimulation from pumping can occasionally trigger uterine contractions, which could result in early labor. Before beginning prenatal pumping, a healthcare professional must be consulted.
  • Concerns About Colostrum Expression- Due to the limited amounts of colostrum produced during pregnancy, some women may find it challenging to express it through pumping. Frustration or disappointment may result from this.
  • Incorrect Use Of A Pump- Inconvenience, nipple injury, or breast tissue damage can result from improper or excessive breast pump use.
  • Milk Supply Overestimation- While pumping prior to delivery can stimulate milk production, it cannot ensure an ample milk supply. Overestimating the expected milk supply could leave you disappointed or stressed.
  • Stress That Is Unneeded- Some expectant mothers who feel pressure to produce a certain volume of milk or worry about nursing may find that pumping before delivery causes them unneeded stress.

Also, Read: Can You Eat Crawfish While Pregnant?

Wrap Up

Colostrum collection, milk supply establishment, and emotional readiness for breastfeeding are a few benefits of pumping breast milk before delivery. However, there are possible hazards associated with it, such as early labor and unrealistic expectations for the milk supply. It is crucial to speak with a healthcare professional or lactation consultant to discuss the pros and cons of pumping before birth. The choice should ultimately be based on what is best for the health and well-being of both you and your unborn child. We hope this guide will help you decide on the necessity of pumping breast milk before the birth of a newborn. If you want to read more blogs on parenthood and nutrition, we suggest you subscribe to our newsletter.



When Should I Begin Pumping Prior To Delivery?

It is advised to begin pumping before delivery between weeks 36 and 37 of pregnancy. However, before beginning prenatal pumping, it is imperative to speak with a healthcare professional.

When I'm Pregnant, How Often Should I Pump?

Start off by only pumping once or twice per day, then if necessary progressively increase the frequency. Remember that the main reason to pump before giving birth is to collect colostrum, so you might not need to do it as frequently as you would after giving birth to increase your milk production.

Does Pumping Before Giving Birth Trigger Labor?

Although uterine contractions can be induced by nipple stimulation from pumping, this is unlikely to happen unless the pregnancy is already at a high risk of preterm birth. For precise advice, you should speak with a medical expert.

Is Colostrum Safe To Freeze And Store?

Yes, using sterilized bottles or syringes, colostrum can be gathered, frozen, and kept in little amounts. Follow the recommended storage procedures, and if you have any questions, speak with a lactation consultant or medical professional.

Will Pumping Before Delivery Ensure A Positive Nursing Experience?

Although there may be some advantages to pumping before delivery, this does not ensure a positive nursing experience. The success of breastfeeding is also greatly influenced by a variety of other variables, including latching, milk transfer, and the baby's general health.

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