Chemotherapy during pregnancy?

I haven’t been to the boards for 5 years, but unfortunately find myself back here again.

Just been diagonised yesterday with a regional recurrence in lymph nodes while 16 weeks pregnant, 5.5yrs after initial diagnosis.

Haven’t seen the onc yet and haven’t had basic scan results back either so this might all be irrelevant (obviously if there are secondaries, there’ll be no baby).

Has anyone been through chemotherapy and come out the other side with a healthy baby? I’m terrified. Would really appreciate shared experiences, I’m just feeling so awful. We already have a two year old daughter and I’m wondering how the hell would I cope with a toddler, cancer, chemo and pregnancy.



I can’t offer any advice at all, but wanted to send you a virtual hug, what a rotten time for you right now.

Jacqui xx

hi jane

i have sent you a pm, and also want to send you a big hug. There is another lady i have spoken to on this site who had chemo when pregnant and got through it and her baby had no difficulties from the treatment

Big hugs to you and your family


Hi Jane

Am so sorry you have found yourself here again,just wanted to send you best wishes.
Love Jaynexxx

Hello Jane

I know how you feel! (and there aren’t many of us who can say that!!)

My husband was looking into something on this site for me, I haven’t been online for a while, but he told me about you and suggested that I message you. So, here I am.

Very briefly, I was diagnosed with a 18mm grade 3 stage 0 lump aged 32 whilst just over 3 months pregnant. This was October. I had my operation whilst pregnant and started chemo when I was 5 months pregnant. I had EC which is FEC without the F - 6 cycles. Baby was delivered safe and well at 37 weeks as planned. The difficulty was that I had to deliver at a certain time to fit in with cycles - not too soon as my blood counts and chance of infection were too high, and not too late as the next cycle could only be delayed by a short amount of time. Origianlly they wanted me to start chemo after delivery and deliver by c-section at 32 weeks. However I’d had the lump for a while, it was grade 3, and I have a strong family history so it was decided that I needed to go ahead with chemo.

Oncologist said main problems associated were a small baby and prem labour. Baby was small but that turned out to be because of a cystic fibrosis genetic disease rather than chemo (not that we had enough to deal with!)

I met 2 other ladies on this board who were only a few weeks behind me in pregnancy (I’m not sure if they log in any more as I’m sure their treatment is over). They were both in London but at different hospitals and had FEC. They had the full 6 cycles and were left to deliver as and when baby decided to come. I was treated at Coventry hospital.

I have written my story for a local magazine and am happy to send it to you and also to tell you ANYTHING you want about my specific situation if it helps.

There is no doubt that it is a crappy and scary position to be in but some how thinking of baby kept me going through the treatment and I have a beautiful baby girl who is now 3 months old. She does have cystic fibrosis and has associated problems because of that but it is nothing to do with my cancer treatment.

Best of luck and remember I’m here if you need me. I found great support in knowing others in the same boat and hope you can too.


Sorry, just to add that my other daughter turns 2 next month so we really are similar!


Hi Jane,
Faye emailed me to say that you were on the forum and worried about having chemo whilst pregnant. She and I went through this at the same time. I was diagnosed very early in my pregnancy two weeks I think. I had surgery (mastectomy) at 10 weeks and then FEC 6 cycles in the third trimester. I was told it was fine to continue with the pregnancy naturally and went two weeks overdue. In the end I had a c-section. My son is 8 weeks old now and fine, they said he was going to be small but he was 7 pounds 10oz and pretty sturdy.

The chemo was tiring and I was fed up with it by the end but I didn’t have any major side effects. The breast care nurse told me they treat around 4 pregnant women a year at the Royal Free Hospital and said that they seem to do quite well handling the chemo.

I was so worried about my baby during the treatment, it went against all my instincts to have all these drugs and I found it hard to believe it would be ok but it was fine. Faye and I have another friend who also had chemo whilst pregnant all went well for her and her baby and she even had a very positive natural birth experience. I hope this reassures you a bit and please feel free to ask any questions.

Lots of love
Clare x

Just remembered I emailed another woman during my chemo who was also in the same boat, she had a blog on the macmillan site her baby came a bit early and was in special care for a couple of weeks but was fine after that so that’s four of us who have been through it. There’s another thread on this site from when we were in the midst of all of this where I posted a link to a study on the safety of chemo in pregnancy which was encouraging.

Clare x


Here’s the article:

Thank you all so much.

When I read your responses, I heaved a huge sob of relief - both that you all delivered babies unaffected by the chemotherapy and that you got through it and are here to tell the tale!

I would really like to hear more about your experiences, please, although I really hope I’m not being premature as I’m still waiting on the MRI scans…

Faye, I would love to read your story. It’s so good to know that the women in the studies we’ve been reading about really exist and anything personal that can be shared would be a great help. What a difficult time you’ve been through, having a baby with cystic fibrosis on top of everything else. I hope she’s doing well. How did you manage after surgery with a toddler?? I’m having a mastectomy and nodes removed and remember from last time how sore my chest was as the WLE had gone down to the muscle and breathing was agony. It’s going to be worse this time, and I have toddler to pick up.

Clare, thanks very much for the article. My OH also found it a couple of days ago and it is encouraging. We also found a very recent German study of 91 women, published in March this year which puts a very positive slant on chemotherapy during pregnancy.

Thanks again for taking the time to come back and reply. xxxx

Hi Jane,
I’m another one who had chemo whilst pregnant. That was 3 years ago now and my little boy shows no signs of having been through chemo with me. (I had chemo in my 2nd trimester). He is a healthy, bright intelligent boy and I am extremely proud of him. I was told at the time that there was absolutely no reason why they couldn’t treat me and keep my baby safe. The only side effect was that he would have been small, he was induced 2 weeks early and weighed 5lb. Yes I was worried but knowing I was pregnant and had a baby to look forward to really helped me deal with the cancer and treatment. I had regular scans and midwife appointments. I also felt rubbish at the time and I struggled with a tiny baby and the remainder of my treatment but 3 years on I have definitely come out the other side a better person and an extremely proud mummy and one day I will tell Matthew what a unique person he is!! If you want to speak more, please mail me. Wishing you all the best xx

Love your profile pic Jane!

Yes, the operation and a toddler are two things that didn’t mix that well. I stayed in hospital for one night so that they could keep an eye on me and baby (they listened to baby’s heartbeat before I went in for the op and did an untrasound when I returned and then listened to baby again before I left hospital). I was offered a second nights stay as I was so worried about going home with the drain in. I was convinced that my daughter would pull it thinking it was a toy! Anyway, I wanted to go home so in the end Mia went to stay with Granny for the night whilst I settled in.

Once she came back I just had to be very careful. I obviously couldn’t pick her up on the surgery side for a few days (until the drain had gone) but could manage if I really had to by using the other arm. Not ideal though and I would plan that you aren’t going to lift at all. For my own peace of mind and safety really, I always sat on the floor to cuddle her so that I didn’t have to support her. I also always made sure that my surgery side was against the chair so that she couldn’t come to that side of me and accidentally hurt me. Cushions also helped - I put them between me and her if she was over excited so that I had some protection.

It wasn’t that long really until I could do things normally again and I think that my arm movement and general recovery happened faster as I was using my arm so much. I didn’t really follow the exercises they gave me to do at the hospital as looking after a toddler covered that and so much more!

Before the operation, and my daughter was a Mummy’s girl, I made sure that hubby spent lots of time with her and did some of the things that she liked me to do such as putting her to bed. That way she was more accepting of him doing it when I couldn’t.

Planning to let people help was the hardest thing for me as I didn’t want to let them. However once I did accept help things were much easier (still feel that they’ve been too involved in things that a Mummy should be doing but that’s my issue rather than anyone doing anything wrong)

I’ve PMed you re my article as I can’t find a way to attache documents.


Hi girls

MRI scans were clear (thank god) and all set for mastectomy on Monday, followed by chemotherapy as soon as I’m healed and ready.

Gulp :frowning:

Clearly terrified but desperate to get it over with, the whole bloody thing.

It’s so difficult to embrace potentially life-saving treatments when they’re so very tough in themselves, especially when there’s a baby growing inside me.

Thanks for all your support and well-wishes xxxx

good luck for your op and chemo, so very glad the scans were clear


I’m really pleased for you Jane, now good luck for everything ahead of you! Keep us posted.


Thanks Vickie and Annie. Mastectomy and lymph node clearance done so just a case of healing and forwards we go!

I’ve just been reading about chemotherapy and am physically wretching at just the thought of the side effects. How on earth will I cope?

This is so bloody hard and I’ve hardly started. I just hope the physical damage isn’t as bad as the psychological affect.

Jane, if it helps at all, it is good to be aware that not everyone has horrendous side effects during chemo - I mostly just had tiredness and some constipation from the anti-sickness tablets (although I don’t know if you can have those).

Some people do suffer more than others, but I think it is as well to be aware that it isn’t always as horrific as it might seem. I wish someone had told me that before I started.

Sending you big hugs xxx

Hi Jane,
I am having my second chemo today, and it was no problem, had a feeling of sickness for some, of the first 3 days, taste buds went a bit, felt a bit tired, but l think a lot of my tiredness was down to stress!
As Flora says, we are all different, so try not to worry. Take it as it comes
Lots of Hugs and Good Luck Wishes
Sandra xxx

Hi Jane

Just wanted to wish you good luck with everything.

Lots of love

Jayne xxxx

Just wanted to say congratulations for reaching this particular milestone. You sound like one amazing lady along with the other mums who have written in.
My heart goes out to you. I trust your recovery goes smoothly and you can bear in mind some of those practical tips for cuddling your child as the others suggested. I’m sure you’re going to relish every little cuddle your daughter wants to give you…but only on your good side!!!

Love and hugs winging their way to you today.
Welsh girl x