Breastfeeding: A form of Birth Control

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photo from prolactinemia.com

Exclusive breastfeeding can be a form of birth control. Is it a fact or myth? Well, I have been hearing that it could be a good form of birth control. However others claimed that it is a myth especially those who got pregnant while breastfeeding. So is this really a fact or myth?

Exclusive breastfeeding could actually be a form of birth control. It is called Lactational Amenorrhea Method or LAM.  It has shown to be an excellent form of birth control. Infact it is 98-99% effective for as long as you met the following conditions:

  1. Your monthly period has not yet returned.
  2. Your baby is less than six months old.
  3. Exclusively breastfeeding on a regular schedule both day and night.
  4. Your baby gets nothing but breast milk alone.

How do LAM works?

There are two hormones that our pituitary gland produces in order to ovulate and menstruate. The follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) which causes the eggs to mature then be released during ovulation.

When a mother breastfeed, the production of these hormones is interfered by a hormone called prolacttin which is produced while breastfeeding. This interrupts ovulation and stops menstruation, therefore preventing pregnancy.

Lactational Amenorrhea Method is an excellent form of birth control when practice correctly. It’s a natural and inexpensive form of birth control and has numerous health benefits for both mom and baby. If you are using LAM or plans to use LAM as your birth control method, the tips below will help you use the method effectively for as long as your baby is with in the first six months of life.

  • Practice frequents breastfeeding about six to ten times a day and no less than four times at night.
  • Avoid long intervals between feeds. If your baby sleeps through the night wake him up for feeds. Prolactin is at its highest between 1am to 6am therefore nursing your baby at this time is important.
  • Avoid using bottles and pacifiers. Baby should suck directly on the mother’s breast.
  • Avoid solid food and other liquids such as juice and water. (Our pediatrician advised me that as long as the baby is breastfeeding it’s okay not to give water).

As to whether its fact or myth? I would say it’s a fact. I am exclusively breastfeeding my youngest for four months now and my menstruation hasn’t come back yet. I think for as long as it is properly used, it can be an effective birth control method. However, if you plan to use contraceptive for a longer period it would be best to talk to your health care provider.

Resources:
http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/fertility/
http://www.epigee.org/fetal/contraception.html

 

 

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