Screening and detection for breast cancer is a vital part of preserving good health for women. Some people may worry if it’s healthy to have a mammogram while breastfeeding, and yes, having a mammogram, ultrasound, and an MRI is ok.
Many mothers are worried that the radiation from this breast health test will render their breast milk unhealthy, impair their supply of milk, or be extremely uncomfortable. The fact is that this form of a diagnostic test is not risky for you or your baby.
Mammograms only create a brief burst of x-rays that are not harmful. For other X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, PET, CT, and CAT, the same is true. Up next we have expert advice on mammograms while breastfeeding.
Is a Mammogram Possible While Breastfeeding?
Ideally, since the photos would be more complicated, it should be done by an experienced mammographer who understands the woman is breastfeeding.
Either by breastfeeding or injecting, you should drain your breasts before the mammogram.
Ultrasound and MRI on a breastfeeding woman MAY be performed, depending on what the doctor sees fit. Incidentally, ultrasound may be very therapeutically helpful for opening up a clogged duct.
In a breastfeeding mother, MRI May be performed, but it is not recommended only for routine screening (as is done in women at high risk), so sensitivity is reduced.
The dye used for breast MRIs, Gadolinium, barely gets into milk and is not absorbed by the infant’s gut, so it is safe-no need to pump and dump.
It is possible to conduct milk cytology, but it is always low-yield. It benefits from being non-invasive, but it needs a specialist pathologist and typically does not rule out cancer.
Developing Breast Cancer During Pregnancy
It is unusual to develop breast cancer during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, but you should be careful of the warning signs.
During breastfeeding, your breasts go through several changes, and one of them is that due to the different channels that help you produce milk, they may look a little bumpier.
Lumps that do not resolve themselves after some time, especially after treatment, need to be checked out.
Catching a lump does not necessarily mean that you have cancer of the breast. Most lumps, especially during breastfeeding, are not cancer at all. Instead, they can be a clogged duct, cyst, or benign tumor that may be involved.
What to Do When You Feel Signs
You should contact your health care provider immediately if you are pregnant and find any issues with your breasts (such as a lump). A breast ultrasound can be requested by your health care provider.
A mammogram is also required periodically to check the region of concern in your breast. A mammogram can only be done if absolutely necessary, and can be performed safely during pregnancy since a lead shield will protect your abdomen.
To assess the lump, they may schedule a diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound.
If there is a doubt about your breasts, these tests should not be postponed when breastfeeding. Please pump or breastfeed your baby about 30 minutes before your test if you need a mammogram when you are breastfeeding.
The Ups and Downs
A mammogram can be more difficult to read when breastfeeding, however. That’s because lactating breasts have denser breast tissue that can make it a bit more difficult to read the x-ray.
You should let your doctor, mammography technician, and radiologist know that you are breastfeeding so that a radiologist skilled in reading mammograms for women who are breastfeeding can evaluate yours.
In no way does a mammogram affect your milk. It will not affect your milk supply and breastfeeding your baby immediately after you have finished your test will not put your baby in danger.