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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Is the hCG diet safe for breastfeeding?"

I got an email from a blog reader asking, "Is the hCG diet safe for breastfeeding? the OBGYN's nurse said she doesn't know if its safe to take the HCG drops while nursing. We all agree no one while nursing (probably not even not nursing) should cut back to 500 calories a day... but they say the diet will still work if you just eat healthy and take the HCG drops, it'll just work slower, not so dramatically.
DO you know? Is it safe to take the HCG drops while nursing? Does it cross over through the breast milk? Does it affect the breast milk supply or anything?"

I had never heard of this fad diet and had to Google it.

I think the first question to ask is, "Is the hCG diet safe for anyone at all?" We'll get to that.

HCG supplements/injections are not listed in Dr. Hale's Medications and Mother's Milk guide which I own because it's a supplement and not a medication.

The official hCG diet website says regarding the hCG diet and breastfeeding: "So, is it ok for a woman to breast feed while on the HCG diet? The definitive answer will need to come from her doctor. However, it looks like it wouldn’t be a good idea, simply because the caloric needs during breastfeeding are just too great and not a conducive to following the HCG diet."


Consuming a mere 500 calories per day, as outlined by the hCG diet, is not safe for any adult (man or woman), let alone a breastfeeding mother. Breastfeeding burns about 200-500 calories per day, and the best research says that breastfeeding mothers need to be consuming a bare minimum of 1500-1800 calories per day (often more). If a mother is not eating enough calories, her milk supply will suffer. Here are a few articles outlining how to lose weight safely while breastfeeding, so that you can maintain your health and your milk supply:

http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/mom/mom-weightloss.html

and an article on herbal supplements and other diet aids while breastfeeding:

http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/mom/mom-herbalweightloss.html

I am highly cautious with anything involving artificial hormones. While they can have their place in certain medical situations, it's not to be taken lightly. I tried to find info on the side effects of hCG injections and found this about the hCG diet on Discovery Health online. HCG is only approved by the FDA as a fertility drug (you heard that correctly--should newly postpartum moms be taking a FERTILITY DRUG as a weight loss supplement???), and it is not FDA approved as a dietary supplement.

According to Discovery Health, "There have been few reports of health problems developing as a result of the hCG diet, although there are some risks, among them an increased risk of blood clots, headaches, restlessness and depression. Also, you may feel, well, like you're pregnant -- swelling, breast tenderness and water retention, anyone? HCG can also cause a potentially life-threatening condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)."

One aspect of the question was whether hCG supplements could cause a drop in milk supply, even if the mother ate a sufficient number of calories. While this might be a question better answered by an endocrinologist, I would be concerned that along with the other pregnancy symptoms that are a side effect of hCG supplementation, a drop in milk supply could be a potential side effect. I looked far and wide to find the chemical mechanism by which many mothers experience a drop in milk supply when they become pregnant while still nursing. Rising levels of progesterone are responsible for the drop in milk supply, but I could not find an answer as to whether hCG supplements could stimulate a rise in progesterone (subsequently causing a drop in milk supply even if mom's caloric intake were sufficient).

The hCG diet official page states a breastfeeding myth, "If she fails to eat properly, this will negatively affect the quality of the milk she produces. The baby may not receive nutritious milk if a woman does not eat enough or enough of the right things." Contrast that with research from La Leche League on the quality of mom's diet and its effect (or lack thereof) on the quality of her breastmilk: "In recent years, research has confirmed that even if some nutrients are missing in a woman’s daily diet, she will still produce milk that will help her child grow. There is very little difference in the milk of healthy mothers and mothers who are severely malnourished. For example, if a mother’s diet is lacking in calories, her body makes up the deficit, drawing on the reserves laid down during pregnancy or before." Mother's milk supply may drop and her health may suffer for her lack of adequate nutrition, but the quality of her breastmilk will not be affected.

I'm not really in the loop in terms of what's popular, and since this diet fad seems to be having its 15 minutes of fame, I wanted to make sure that moms had the info to weigh the risks.

45 comments:

  1. I agree with Diet C. Weightwatchers has a plan tailored to nursing moms. That way you'll be on a plan that is safe for both you and baby.

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  2. Hello,

    The official hCG diet website says regarding the hCG diet and breastfeeding:So, is it ok for a woman to breast feed while on the HCG diet? There is very little difference in the milk of healthy mothers and mothers who are severely malnourished. thanks a lot for this new site....

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  3. I agree with you consuming 500 calories per day will not work especially for breastfeeding moms who need to make plenty of milk.

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  4. This is very interesting information. Hcg diet

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  5. Good stuff. Thank you so so much for sharing your knowledge with the world through the Internet. Wonderful blog and post you got here
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  6. It is a very informative and useful post thanks it is good material to read this post increases my knowledge

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  7. I am slowly taking my baby off the breast and soon to be starting the hcg diet. Is it safe to breastfeed once a day or will it be harmful?

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    Replies
    1. I was wondering the same thing. I have just weened my 11 month old and started the hcg rx for the second time but I am still producing milk I guess because of the hormone. He eats solids and formula but I would like to nurse at night for comfort I was wwondering if it is safe.

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  8. i'm a breastfeeding mom, and I am very careful about what I put in my body while nursing. (I don't even drink caffine) So I might be a little over protective but I wouldn't use HCG diet while nursing even if I'm doing it once a day. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

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  9. The OBGYN's nurse said she doesn't know if its safe to take the HCG drops while nursing. We all agree no one while nursing (probably not even not nursing) should cut back to 500 calories a day... but they say the diet will still work if you just eat healthy and take the HCG drops, it'll just work slower, not so dramatically.
    MaxBurn

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  10. Hi all, I have been in the hcg diet for around a month now and I have found that my milk supply has increased. Also, my baby has not suffered from weightloss or any other issues. I am taking drops. It is also a myththata breastfeeding mother will lose her supply if she doesn't eat enough calories. As long as she drinks enough water her milk will not suffer. I have lost 30 lbs on this diet do far, and plan to lose another 50. My baby is about 8 months old. I
    I was informed that my supply needed to be established before beginning this diet. I have been quite happy with it overall

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your post. I've been back and forth about whether or not I should start the diet due to the fact I'm nursing my 5 month old. My main concern was him losing weight as well. Knowing there's other woman out there who have successfully used the hcg diet while nursing makes me feel more comfortable with the idea of doing the hcg diet. Thank you!

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    2. Yes, Thank You for being brave enough to share despite all the comments against the hcg diet while nursing. My midwife who has been in practice over 30 years said I could do the hcg diet as long as I was fully recovered from the birth and my milk was established. I have been on the diet a short time and find that my milk supply is quite full as it is necessary to drink a lot of liquid on the diet. I drink teas that help support milk supply and I take supplements. I think that you should use common sense, if your supply goes down - up your caloric intake with approved items on the list especially protein and greens and your milk supply will be just fine.

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    3. I too have been taking Hcg injections for a week now. I decided to stop nursing after my first injection but my son wouldn't drink for a bottle or sippy so I am back to nursing. There are a few other factors that went into this for me.
      One- my son is 9 months and eats table food- he nurses for comfort/falling asleep. He gets the nutrients mostly his food.
      Two- I've tested my milk over 10 times over a 24 hours and NOT A SINGLE time did it show a positive result for HCG. I've did this on day 1, 4, and 7 and still not a trace of hcg.
      Three- I've also tested my urine as well as my sons for any trace of HCG and again- not even a trace.
      Four- I made sure the HCG I was taking was true HCG. (You can test the HCG with a pregnancy test to see if it's 'real') Also, I would only take a HCG from a reputable pharmaceutical company- this IS FDA regulated unlike the drops. You never know what your getting in addition to (if there is even any hcg) the HCG.

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    4. so nothing should effect my milk supply or harm my son he will be a year old aug 2nd?

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    5. A huge thanks for this post. I've been scouring the internet for some info. I'm breastfeeding two children, but really just for comfort as the youngest one is 2 1/2 years old!!!! Yet everything I see says I shouldn't do the program while breastfeeding as baby needs more fat, etc. They are getting that from food at this age. I'm not too worried about releasing toxins into my blood as any diet will do that. Also about 85% of women lose weight, most quite easily while breastfeeding so babies often have to cope with this.

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    6. Kayla (or anyone that has had success w/ this diet) what types of drops did you use? I went to recommended site and there are various forms/types of it...I want to get one that has been successful and also safe for baby =-) So excited!! =)

      Delete
  11. HCG is one of the good for growing babies. And comes with minimum side effects. Most people are satisfied with the HCG.


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  12. Is there a special brand of HCG drops that works better than others? Or is it all the same?

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  13. They are the same, best place to get them online is http://www.powermaxnutrition.com

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  14. A mother knows what’s best for her baby, and keeping fit during pregnancy is a sign of a caring and loving mother. But as you need to exercise your body; does your baby also need to exercise her mind?After all, 70% of the baby’s brain growth occurs during pregnancy! Watch this video to know more.

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  15. This was such a helpful website!! Thank you so much for the research.

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  16. I also have a 11 month old son and I am going to wean the next three weeks ns then start HCG. I did it before pregnancy nd went from 145 to 120 and felt fantastic. I'm currently 134 now from hard working out with P90X and insanity but there is honestly nothing like HCG. It completely tightens loose akin and doesn't touch the muscle I've worked so hrf to tone. I plan on offering him the breast in the am and pm feedings and vitamin D milk the rest of day. I choose to wait until this point I begin HCG. But it really is a wonderful way to tone up fast. And it stays off too!! Good luck ladies

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    Replies
    1. I have a similar story. I lost 30 pounds the first time before pregnancy. My son is now 15 months. I really want to try again since he only nurses about 4x a day max. I am still concerned though... but you have done it while nursing and your child is fine?

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  17. I completed the HCG diet through my fertility specialist- lost 30 lbs. in 40 days & kept it off. I became preg. 2 mos later after 7 years of infertility. I was strongly advised NOT TO BREASTFEED while on this diet. The HCG hormone will get in your milk supply and your child will injest this unecessarly.

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  18. How did u test your breastmilk for hcg?

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  19. I have did hcg diet and I did lose 50 pounds and i breastfeed my daughter she is 5 mos. and weight 19 pounds. I talk to her doctor she gave me the ok to try to lose 50 more. Now i did do 500 and if i was hungry I would eat more of the kind of food I was allow to eat.I am just happy to find a diet i can really do and see it works. I had more then enought milk. .

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  24. It is a very informative and useful post thanks it is good material to read this post increases my knowledge
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  25. HCG diet drops are homeopathic drops that are exhausted orally and as soon as they go low your language they act working.

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  27. Do what happened Sarah, did you take while nursing?

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  28. I am bf my 5 month old. I am also doing the hcg zero drops. I have been doing the plan for a week and have lost over 7 lbs. My plan is to do the hcg hormone free lifestyle (I don't use the word diet) for 30-35 days. You have to use common sense when having this lifestyle while bf. My protein is weighted out to 4 oz. And I eat about 3 cups of fresh veges. For example yesterday at lunch I had a 4 oz of extra lean ground meat seasoned with McCormick Taco seasoning, about 4 sweet yellow tomatoes(baby tomatoes) half a yellow onion sliced, half a red bell pepper sliced, and 1 small zucchini and 1 melba toast. I used organic coconut oil and grill my veges That's way over the lunch/dinner meal plan. But I adjusted it for me bc I'm bf and it works. My milk supply has not gone down at all.and my little one is fine I also take vitamins: hair, skin and nail, vit d3, vit b6, vit b12, caltrate, biotin,and raspberry ketones. I work out for 30 mins while my son is sleep. I am doing the Tracy Anderson Glutcentric but I only do the muscle exhaustion. I do the muscle exhaustion cd bc it helps me keep my very sexy and feminine figure! The hubs loves that we have five kids but I dont look like it. I don't do the cardio cd bc I burn enough calories chasing my five kids around the house daily and bf. I think I am a seasoned vet t the hcg because I have successfully done it before and kept it off while getting prego and bf.
    You have to do your research! Do your research! Do your research! Create a daily journal. Jot down everything you eat and how much of it you ate. Also write how you felt and your daily pros and cons. This will really help you. Create a sustainable meal plan, take vitamins, drink lots of water, find a exercise regimen you love and do it daily 20-30 mins is fine. I would not rec this to a newbie someone who is just doing the hcg for the first time or a new mother. You need to be experience with hcg.
    Like I said it worked for me, I have a 5 month old and he's fine. I am a proud bf mommie of five kids. ") TIP: If you're feeling hungry eat more veges, eat earlier in the day and go to bed earlier.

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  29. hi my son is 3 months old and i would love to try the HCG but i dont know if its safe i only breast feed my son at nights during the day he is in formula im trying to lose the weight that i gain during pregnacy HELP

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  30. Without hcg i wouldn't have never lost my weight.....never felt better during diet like with hcg.It works amazing and
    i never had health problems from it

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  31. I use hcg few year ago and lose weight very fast and health and that is not so important most important in using hcg it`s to regulate my meal and my weight
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