The question of the possibility of conceiving a child during breastfeeding is concerned with many women preparing for the birth of a baby and having plans to feed him with breast milk, as well as those with babies who are breastfed.
Most of the newly-born moms are confident that lactation provides them with reliable protection against unwanted pregnancy. For this reason, no additional contraception is needed. Is it really so?
Reasons why lactation prevents pregnancy
A natural method of protection from conception, which is called lactational amenorrhea, is based on the fact that breastfeeding is considered an obstacle to the onset of another pregnancy. But sometimes it happens that conception nevertheless comes.
After the birth of the child, the restoration of the female reproductive system does not occur immediately. For mothers who breastfeed a baby, this period usually lasts much longer than for those who are feeding the baby with formula or switched to artificial feeding altogether. In some cases, this process is fully restored only when breastfeeding is completed. Up to this point, a woman may have no periods at all, but pregnancy may still occur.
This fact is confirmed by both doctors and people who are faced with this in their lives. For this reason, the question of whether conception is possible during lactation can only be answered positively. This occurs primarily because the first ovulation, which occurs after the birth of a child before the menstrual cycle has been adjusted, may not be noticeable for a woman, and pregnancy will occur during this period. In such cases, conception occurs in approximately 10% of nursing mothers.
When does the natural contraceptive method for breastfeeding work?
Of course, the risk that a mother who is breastfeeding a baby gets pregnant is rather low. During breastfeeding, there is a significant decrease in fertility, that is, the ability of a woman to conceive.
During lactation in the female body there is an intensive production of hormones that suppress fertility. Among them there is prolactin, a large amount of which is an obstacle to the onset of pregnancy when a woman feeds an infant.
If you follow some important rules, you can ensure that the method of natural protection from unwanted pregnancy becomes much more effective, with the result that the degree of its reliability will reach almost 99 percent.
First of all, feeding should be carried out on demand of the infant, and not at a set time. This also applies to night hours, while feeding the baby with a mixture, it is impossible to offer him a pacifier or a bottle of water. This means that for 24 hours the crumbs will have 10 short-term feedings, or 6 long ones. The interval between them will be a maximum of 5-6 hours.
In addition, the reliability of the method depends on the age of the child. After 6-7 months, it decreases significantly, because at this time the frequency of feedings can no longer be taken into account, as complementary feeding begins to be actively introduced into the baby’s diet, and he does not need so much breast milk. During this period, it is no longer necessary to expect that breastfeeding will provide protection against the onset of conception. It is recommended to start using contraceptive agents.
When the mother starts her period again, it will be a sign of her body’s readiness to carry the baby back. If a woman does not want to give birth again, then she should provide herself with reliable protection from pregnancy.
Contraception for nursing mothers
For women who are breastfeeding, a gynecologist may recommend the following methods of contraception:
- Oral contraceptive drugs (pills). During breastfeeding, preference should be given not to combined means, but to preparations containing only one hormone, progestin. This medicine is also called "mini-pili". It does not affect the quality and volume of breast milk, does not pose a danger to either the mother or the baby. But it is impossible to use the tool without consulting with a doctor. The drug can begin to take 2 months after birth. With proper and regular use of such pills, their effectiveness will reach 98%. It is necessary to strictly follow the instructions and not to violate the schedule and time of admission. Combined drugs when breastfeeding is allowed to use after 6 months after delivery. They are more suitable for the body of a woman, but slightly reduce the production of breast milk. For this reason, the use of such tablets is not recommended in the first months after birth. The effectiveness of this tool reaches almost 100%.
- Barrier contraceptive methods (condoms). A simple and affordable method that does not affect lactation and the body of the mother and child. But it is important here the quality of the condom, because it depends on the effectiveness of the method, which varies from 86 to 97%. In addition, if the product is improperly used, it may tear.
- Spermicidal agents (candles). The tool does not pose a health hazard and is more than 90% effective if used correctly. In addition to candles, there are drugs of the same effect in the form of a cream or ointment. The active components of this agent cause the destruction of the sperm cell membrane, which leads to a violation of their mobility or death. The use of such means (as well as condoms) is allowed immediately after the birth of the child. Achieving the desired effect occurs instantly after use, it lasts for about 6 hours.
- Intrauterine device. The introduction of this product is carried out only by a gynecologist. If the birth was normal, without complications, the spiral can be put after 1.5 months. The effect persists depending on the type of product for 6-7 years. In this case, if necessary, the doctor can remove it. Reliability means almost 100%. Lactation is not a contraindication to its use. However, side effects are possible, which the doctor must consult about.
Pregnancy and lactation
If, in spite of the fact that the mother is breastfeeding the baby, the pregnancy has nevertheless begun, then another question arises - should the baby be transferred to artificial feeding. If a new pregnancy is proceeding normally, it does not affect lactation. And the hormone produced in the mother's body during lactation does not affect the uterus and does not lead to premature contractions. This means that you can not worry and continue breastfeeding, especially if the baby is not yet one year old.
But it is necessary to take into account such a moment that all the vitamins and minerals pass to the child who eats breast milk, and not the one that develops in the mother's womb. For this reason, it is advisable to consult on this topic with the doctor who will lead the pregnancy.
How to understand that pregnancy has occurred during breastfeeding
The fact that there was a conception may suggest the following:
- The quality and quantity of milk has changed, as indicated by the behavior of the infant.
- The production of milk for no apparent reason was sharply reduced.
- There are painful sensations in the chest, but you should be extremely attentive to this, since the pain may indicate the onset of lactostasis or even mastitis.
- Other signs of pregnancy appeared - menstruation delay, nausea in the morning, etc.
If the pregnancy is confirmed, you should contact your gynecologist. He will tell you what to do next - how to combine lactation and carrying a child. But it is worth remembering that such a combination takes a lot of power. Therefore, it is not recommended to plan a second baby so early. It is better that at least one or two years have elapsed so that the mother’s body is fully restored.