If you’re pregnant

Pregnancy and chemotherapy

This isn’t a common situation. But if you are pregnant and need chemotherapy, or discover you’re pregnant during chemotherapy, you and your partner will need careful discussions with your doctor.

Your cancer doctor will advise you about any possible risks to the baby (from chemotherapy) and how being pregnant may affect your cancer treatment plan.

It is sometimes possible to delay chemotherapy until after a baby is born, or to give it later in the pregnancy. This will depend on the type of cancer you have, its stage, the chemotherapy drugs you need, and how far you are in the pregnancy. Your cancer doctor will explain if these are options in your situation.

This can be a difficult and distressing time, especially if it involves making decisions about continuing with the pregnancy. You’ll need time to take in the information you’ve been given, and to talk it over with your partner and family. Your specialist nurse and your doctor are also there to help you. If you need more specialised support they can refer you to a counsellor.

Breastfeeding and chemotherapy

Breastfeeding during chemotherapy is not advised. This is because the drugs could be passed to your baby through breast milk. You may be able to express extra milk before chemotherapy starts and freeze it to use later.

During chemotherapy, you may be able to express milk, which you cannot keep or use, so that you are still producing milk when your treatment finishes. You may be able to start breastfeeding after chemotherapy. But this will depend on whether you are having any other treatment that could interfere with breastfeeding. Your cancer doctor and nurse will tell you about this.

Having chemotherapy will not affect your ability to breastfeed in the future.

Back to Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy explained

Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat cancer. Understand how chemotherapy works and how you can prepare.