Can You Conceive While Breastfeeding?
Can you conceive while breastfeeding? Many women have often wondered about this. Most believe that it isn’t possible, due to the absence of menstruation during these months. However, many women have relied on this fact and then become pregnant, without having planned it.
The fact of the matter is that, although it happens very rarely, it is possible to conceive while lactating. Breastfeeding can be a sort of contraceptive method. However, there are many difficult conditions to be met in order for it to be truly effective.
Let’s take a look at more information to understand a woman’s fertility during this period. In this way we can avoid any unwanted pregnancies.
What happens in a woman’s body during breastfeeding?
When a woman has just become a mother, it usually takes between three and eight months for her menstruation to return to normal. The main cause of this is the effect of breastfeeding. This is even more noticeable when the newborn baby is exclusively breastfed.
But how does breastfeeding affect a woman’s menstrual cycle? There is a direct relationship between the suction of the baby and the absence of ovulation. This is due to the hormonal changes that this suction produces, changes that prevent ovulation from occurring.
Without ovulation, there is no menstruation or possibility of pregnancy. Normally, little by little, the woman’s body returns to normal. Menstruation is regularized and, with it, the possibility of conceiving. However, the process is complex and different in each woman.
Some women can actually begin to ovulate before having their period again. This means that they can start to ovulate again at any time without knowing. In that case, the risk of conceiving while breastfeeding will be very high.
It’s possible to conceive while breastfeeding. However, each woman is different.
Breastfeeding as a contraceptive method
The contraceptive effect of breastfeeding has been called LAM: Lactation and Amenorrhea Method. Although it is 99% effective, some requirements must be met rigorously.
The first one is that the woman mustn’t have had her period yet, and that less than six months have passed since giving birth. It’s also necessary to feed the newborn baby only on breast milk. This must be done often, day and night. The time between feeds should not exceed four hours during the day and six hours during the night.
Also, don’t use formula milk to feed the baby, or supplement it with any solid food. Extracting milk instead of breastfeeding will also reduce the effectiveness of this method.
If a woman meets all these conditions, it will be very unlikely that she’ll conceive while breastfeeding. However, if one of them isn’t kept one hundred percent, then the risk of an unplanned pregnancy increases considerably.
Yes, it is possible to conceive while breastfeeding
Although breastfeeding can be used as a contraceptive method, the conditions for it to be 100% effective are many, and not always easy to comply with. A woman can conceive while breastfeeding, and so if the couple doesn’t want a pregnancy then it is advisable to resort to other contraceptive methods.
The couple should go to a gynecologist, who can advise them about the best options. The choice of the most appropriate method will depend on many factors. These include the personal situation of each woman and the particular stage she is going through.
Condoms are, without a doubt, the best option. They have no influence on the mother’s hormones and don’t interfere with the baby’s nutrition. However, there are also other possibilities if you don’t want to use this contraceptive method.
The mini pill is also an excellent alternative. It’s very similar to the classic contraceptive pill, but it doesn’t contain estrogen. This makes it possible to take it during the lactation period, since it doesn’t affect the feeding of the newborn baby.
Another very safe possibility in terms of effectiveness and totally harmless for the baby is the IUD, also known as the coil. But doctors don’t recommend its use until six weeks after giving birth. A good option would be to use this method after the first six weeks, and combine it with the condom for the first few weeks of starting to use it.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
Contraception During Breastfeeding. (2010). In Breastfeeding. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-1-4377-0788-5.10043-4