Breastfeeding moms can still get pregnant, despite beliefs to the contrary.
It’s not uncommon for young moms to adopt the perception that while breastfeeding they will not get pregnant. While there is some medical evidence to support this some of the time, there are also several risks to adopting this as a method of birth control. Here’s what you need to know if you are breastfeeding and sexually active
:The facts and the fallacies of breastfeeding, sex, fertility and conception
According to BabyCenter.com
you are not infertile while breastfeeding, but merely less fertile. The Stir suggests that breastfeeding exclusively increases the levels
of the hormone prolactin which in turn inhibits ovulation. This is only effective if you are breastfeeding on demand (every three hours and through the night), and, should you not breastfeed your baby for six hours the hormone level could drop enough for you to ovulate.Watch: What happens during sex, ovulation, ejaculation and fertilisation
So pumping breast milk
would also mean that your prolactin hormone levels would drop. In the case of working mothers that pump breast milk and then go through the work day without breastfeeding it’s not considered effective in preventing ovulation
. Also, when your baby begins weaning and is having some solid food in between breastfeeding, then you are also likely to resume ovulation.
Even if you are exclusively breastfeeding and you resume menstruating, this indicates that ovulation is taking place. Also, since menstruation only takes place after ovulation, you may not even realise that you have ovulated for two weeks- plenty of time for fertilisation to take place…Reading the fine print
There is a method sometimes used by breastfeeding mothers to avoid becoming pregnant, according to BabyCentreUK
, called the lactational amennorhoea method, or LAM. This is said to be 98 per cent effective provided that the baby is under six months old, the mother’s periods have not resumed and the child is being exclusively (day and night) breastfed.
Chat to your doctor about this method before embarking on it.The pros and cons of baby gaps
The average time frame for a breastfeeding mom to resume menstruating is around 28 weeks.
If you would like to prevent getting pregnant while breastfeeding, you should consider contraception. You can speak to your doctor for advice on which methods would suit your particular requirements. Some doctors recommend low-dose oral contraceptives which are less likely to interfere with lactation, and others recommend barrier methods such as condoms. Sexual activity could result in becoming pregnant
.Read: 10 fertility tips
If you are breastfeeding and you want to conceive, you can also speak to your doctor about how best to go about this. Not all breastfeeding moms (or even non-breastfeeding moms) resume their menstrual cycle at the same time.
The bottom line is that unless you are brave enough to rely on the LAM method which is not fool-proof, having sex may result in a pregnancy.
Consult a medical professional for your particular personal requirements.Have you ever heard people insist that you can't fall pregnant while breastfeeding?Follow Parent24 on Twitter or join the conversation on Facebook