DR VINCENT KARUHANGA Some women use breastfeeding as a family planning method. However, while this has worked for some, the method has also seen several women get pregnant while breastfeeding. But Ugandans have many beliefs about breastfeeding while pregnant. Many believe that breastfeeding may not only lead to a miscarriage but may get the subsequent baby poisoned by the milk leading to quarrels or even fights between the children. When such children keep fighting, talk of, they are fighting for the breast is then rife. And as such, women will wean their babies at the earliest hint of pregnancy. What is true however is that breastfeeding is safe and will not maim or cause other ailments to the unborn baby. Some mothers will even breastfeed their babies, deliver and breastfeed the two children who are not twins together in what is referred to as tandem nursing. Breastfeeding immediately after a baby is born is said to be useful in contracting the womb and therefore stemming bleeding after birth. Because of this, it is feared that breastfeeding during pregnancy will result in some uterine contractions, hence increasing the risk of a miscarriage. As the mother suckles her baby, her brain produces a hormone oxytocin which helps produce milk in what is called the milk-let-down reflex. This is the same hormone that contracts the womb and helps stop bleeding after the baby is born. At the same time, the hormone may be artificially used to contract the uterus and help labour to progress properly during delayed delivery. Fortunately, the womb becomes only significantly sensitive during the later months of pregnancy and even then, the amounts of oxytocin produced during suckling may not significantly lead to serious contraction of the womb leading to a miscarriage. This then means that breastfeeding in pregnancy is generally safe except of course, if a woman has other risks culminating into miscarrying. Such women should not take chances of breastfeeding while pregnant. When a woman delivers, she requires adequate time to replenish both her physical and mental resources before she gets pregnant again. Conceiving while breastfeeding means that a woman has gotten pregnant too soon before the replenishment is done, putting a woman at risk of both physical and mental fatigue, and nutritional deficiencies which will affect the mother and the unborn (or even the one breastfeeding). Also, many women who breastfeed during pregnancy find their nipples sore and breasts painful, making it a nightmare to breastfeed then. As the breasts develop during pregnancy, many women will find that the supply of milk to the breastfeeding baby dwindles. This coupled with the change of taste of milk (as milk forms into colostrum) especially coming after three months will make many babies wean themselves. Breastfeeding is a good and rewarding practice for both mothers and babies and should be encouraged. However, breastfeeding during pregnancy if a woman does not risk miscarriage should be a personal decision. If one has had miscarriages before and is told by the doctor that shes still at risk of having miscarriages, again she is advised to wean the baby as soon as she realises she is pregnant.