Pregnancy After Breast Cancer


Prenatal care is essential as it is with any pregnancy. There are some additional concerns for breast cancer survivors when it comes to pregnancy: These pregnancies have been shown to result in infants with lower birth weight, smaller size for gestational age, a higher risk of preterm delivery, and a higher risk of Cesarean section. Babies born to women who have received chemotherapy to reduce their risk of relapse, on the other hand, are usually healthy. These babies are no more likely to have genetic defects or post-partum illness than babies born to women who have no history of breast cancer.

Is it possible to have a successful pregnancy after having breast cancer?

The good news is that many women who have had adjuvant breast cancer treatments (chemotherapy and/or anti-estrogen therapies given to reduce the risk of relapse) have had successful pregnancies and healthy babies. However, it is impossible to know whether a successful pregnancy is possible in a breast cancer survivor because many factors influence the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Is pregnancy safe after breast cancer?

Pregnancy after cancer treatment is safe for both mother and child, more often than not. Pregnancy does not appear to increase the risk of cancer recurrence. Still, some women may be advised to wait several years before trying to conceive.

Factors determining the likelihood of successful pregnancy after breast cancer

Several doctors advise women not to get pregnant for the first 6 months after completing chemotherapy as any damaged eggs are said to leave the body within the first 6 months. Other medical professionals advise waiting 2 to 5 years before trying to conceive. This is because cancer is more likely to reoccur in earlier years. Cancer treatment during pregnancy is also more difficult. Here are some of the factors to consider:

     Maternal age

     Type of treatment

     Fertility status of partner

     Type of cancer and the stage

     Pre-treatment maternal fertility status

     Measures used to protect maternal fertility during treatment

How cancer treatments may affect pregnancy

     Radiation therapy.

     Radiation therapy may have an effect on the uterus's support cells and blood supply. It may also increase the chances of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and other complications.

     Surgery to the cervix

     Removing all or part of the cervix may increase the likelihood of miscarriage or premature birth. This is due to the cervix's inability to support a developing pregnancy.



     Doxorubicin (a generic drug), daunorubicin (Cerubidine), epirubicin (Ellence), and idarubicin are all used in anthracycline chemotherapy (Idamycin). These treatments may weaken the heart and/or cause heart cell damage.

Other concerns about having children after cancer treatment

     Risk of cancer recurrence. According to research, getting pregnant does not seem to bring cancer back. Some doctors advise breast cancer survivors to wait two years before trying to conceive. Some hormones that rise during pregnancy are linked to the growth of breast cancer cells. However, there is no scientific evidence that a woman's cancer risk increases if she becomes pregnant within two years of finishing treatment.

     Risk of children getting cancer. Many cancer survivors are concerned that their children will develop the disease as well. According to research, children of cancer patients and survivors are not at a higher risk of developing the disease. However, some cancers are passed down from parents to children via genes. You may be at a higher risk if you have one of these hereditary cancers. Talk to your doctor or a genetic counsellor about having children.

     Infertility. Some cancer treatments make having children difficult or impossible for survivors. Before initiating treatment, all men and women who want to have children should discuss potential infertility with their healthcare team. They should also talk about ways to preserve their fertility.

Top questions to ask your radiologist

Having children is a major decision. Whatever treatment you've had, you should discuss the potential risks of pregnancy and birth with your healthcare team. Your doctor may need to examine specific organs to ensure your pregnancy is safe. An obstetrician may be referred to you. This is a specialised doctor who is trained to care for pregnant women and those who have recently given birth.

     Will my cancer treatment plan have an impact on my ability to bear children?

     Is it possible to preserve my fertility before beginning treatment?

     Will my treatment plan cause complications during my pregnancy, labour, and delivery?

     How long should I wait before attempting to conceive?

     How will trying to conceive affect my post-partum care plan?

     Will having a child increase my chances of recurrence?

     Should I consult an obstetrician who has worked with cancer survivors?

     Where can I get emotional support for myself? For my husband or wife?


You do not have to deal with your emotions alone. You may find it beneficial to discuss your feelings with another person whose fertility has been impacted by breast cancer treatment. Your healthcare team are also there to guide you through the journey.