Breast feeding and pregnancy and birth control.The role ofcontraception in breastfeeding and nursing babies and infants.
Can You Get Pregnant While Breast Feeding? If so, what birth control can you use?
By Anne Hutchison
My name is TC. I am from Singapore.
My wife recently wean my 10 months old daughter from her breast milk. She has been diligently feeding our daughter 5 times a day everyday
for 10 months. I do not know what symptoms or side-effects which is related to stopping breast feeding. However, my wife is 3 weeks late on
her regular menstruation and her gynae and obes suggested to her that it is pretty normal and to wait and see.
We are not sure if her "late" menstruation has anything to do with the termination of the breast feeding. But we did have sexual intercourse during this period using the rhythm method. And we are not sure what to think. She has not get a pregnancy test yet, but if you can advice me, it would be a great help.
Thank You. TC Singapore
When babies are fully breast feeding, even at night, with few to no bottles andno pacifiers and thumb sucking, and mom is not having amenstrual period, it is rare for the women to getpregnant. Statistics say about 2% of the time. It is not impossible, justrare.
However, as the baby begins to sleep through the night, goes longer betweennursings, has some solid food, or has a few bottles, the chances of ovulation occurringgrow. Once ovulation occurs, pregnancy is certainly back in the picture as a possibility.
Also, ovulation can occur without a prior menstrual period, so lactation is nota foolproof contraceptive. Far from it.
So, what do you do for birth control without affecting your baby?
First, the non-hormonal methods of contraception do not change breast feedingat all. Hormonal methods of contraception are another story.
Some, maybe all, oral birth control pillsmight affect milk supply, alter milk composition,and/or even have an effect on your infant’s growth.
In the book Breastfeeding Pure & Simple, by Gwen Gotsch, theauthor writes, "With any type of hormonal contraceptive, small amounts of synthetichormones appear in the mother’s milk, and some experts have expressed concern aboutpossible long-term effects on the baby."
The only way to be certain is to discuss this with your doctor.
Many women do not have menstrual periods while they are breast feeding. It isnot unusual for the periods not to return immediately after weaning.
The only way to be certain about pregnancy, of course, is the test.
Starting with the words, "Mothers agree; it’s worth it," Gwen Gotsch takes breast feeding from why mothers breastfeed, through all the stages of breast feeding your child, right through weaning. It covers all the bases from fathers to other generations to mothers returning to work. This admirable reference book is probably the best one for new mothers, making it an excellent new-mom and new-dad gift. But despite the thoroughness of the book, it is short and easily read in an afternoon or two, a real plus for busy and sleepy new moms. The book was published by La Leche League International following their commitment to helping breastfeeding women everywhere….book review continued