Can breastfeeding really prevent pregnancy?

Woman seated on a bed breastfeeding her newborn baby

Having a child is an thrilling and life-changing occasion. But it takes lots of time and power to look after infants, particularly in the event you’re juggling each household and work. So even the happiest and proudest mother and father would possibly like to attend awhile after the delivery of 1 baby earlier than welcoming one other.

You’ll have heard that in the event you’re breastfeeding, you gained’t get pregnant. Nonetheless, that’s not the total story. How effectively breastfeeding works as a type of contraception is dependent upon a number of elements.

What to contemplate in the event you select breastfeeding for contraception

Consultants suggest ready 18 months or extra between pregnancies. This enables the uterus time to heal, and is safer for the birthing mother or father and toddler.

There are a lot of choices for contraception. Some change the hormone cycles that rule durations and pregnancies. Nonhormonal choices most frequently block or sluggish sperm, or stop sperm and egg from assembly.

Breastfeeding is a pure contraception choice that appeals to many individuals. Analysis exhibits it may be an efficient methodology throughout the months when a lady is continuously breastfeeding and an toddler is receiving solely breast milk as meals — no formulation, child meals, or different meals.

The medical time period for this methodology is lactational amenorrhea methodology, or LAM. Lactational refers to breastfeeding, and amenorrhea means not having a interval or common menstrual cycle.

How does this methodology work?

Breastfeeding a child repeatedly helps stop ovulation, which is the discharge of an egg from the ovary. Ovulation should happen with a purpose to conceive a being pregnant.

To efficiently stop being pregnant, all of those tips should be adopted:

  • Your child is youthful than 6 months and solely breastfeeding (no formulation or meals).
  • You breastfeed no less than each 4 hours throughout the day and each six hours in a single day.
  • You at present aren’t having durations (amenorrhea).

How efficient is LAM?

Research present that when used appropriately as defined above, LAM might be about as efficient as hormonal strategies like the contraception capsule. It’s 98% efficient within the first six months after the child is born. Because of this solely two out of 100 folks will get pregnant whereas utilizing this methodology if the rules are adopted appropriately. If not, being pregnant is more likely to happen. Your medical crew may also help you determine if this can be a good contraception methodology for you proper now and clarify extra choices.

What are the benefits of this methodology?

This type of contraception is totally pure and has no potential well being dangers or unwanted effects. It’s also free and doesn’t require a medical appointment or process.

What are the disadvantages of this methodology?

  • It’s not sensible or doable for everybody.
  • You could give you the chance and prepared to solely breastfeed your new child. Giving your child any quantity of formulation or different meals decreases the effectiveness of this contraception methodology. It’s additionally unclear whether or not pumping breast milk has the identical impact as breastfeeding in stopping ovulation.
  • It’s short-term. Pediatricians suggest beginning infants on some strong meals at round 6 months of age. Infants may even begin sleeping for longer stretches at night time.
  • In the event you get your interval whereas utilizing this methodology, it’s seemingly that you’re ovulating once more. Which means you aren’t effectively protected towards being pregnant, and will get pregnant until you begin utilizing a unique kind of contraception.

In the event you determine to make use of LAM, be ready to modify to a unique methodology of contraception by the point your child reaches 6 months, or earlier than this in the event you’re discovering it impractical.

Is that this methodology best for you?

This methodology could possibly be a sensible choice briefly if you’re prepared and in a position to

  • breastfeed your child solely for the primary six months after delivery — not mixing in formulation or different meals
  • nurse no less than each 4 hours throughout the day and each six hours in a single day.

This methodology doesn’t shield towards sexually transmitted infections (STIs), similar to chlamydia or HIV. It’s not a sensible choice for anybody who needs to make use of a mixture of breast milk and formulation, or who has a well being downside or makes use of medicines that would hurt a child if unfold or handed by way of breast milk.

Selecting the best contraception for you

Contraception ought to fit your life-style and meet your well being wants. Some folks want to keep away from strategies that include any hormones, for instance. These with a historical past of blood clots or hypertension ought to keep away from strategies that include estrogen. Busy folks could do finest with a ‘set it and neglect it’ long-term methodology of contraception, similar to an IUD or implant. And everybody who wishes safety towards STIs wants to consider utilizing condoms with any contraception choice they select.

Share your preferences and wishes along with your midwife, physician, or different members of your medical crew. They’ll clarify choices and assist you decide that works effectively for you.

See the Harvard Well being Beginning Management Middle for extra info on choices.

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