Many new mothers wonder: Can you get pregnant while breastfeeding? It’s a common concern for several reasons.
Some mothers may want to work toward growing their families while providing optimal nutrition for their babies. Others might be worried about the risk of an unplanned pregnancy.
So, is it possible to fall pregnant while you’re breastfeeding? Yes, you can. The hormones your body produces during lactation can reduce your fertility over the short term.
And if you’re breastfeeding and haven’t had your period yet, it’s less likely you will fall pregnant. However, the possibility is ever-present.
This blog post will delve into the relationship between breastfeeding and fertility.
We’ll discuss whether it’s possible to conceive while nursing. And we’ll explore how breastfeeding can affect your menstrual cycle and overall fertility.
Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is often considered a natural form of birth control, and is referred to as the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM).
However, it’s essential to understand that LAM is not foolproof. Some women can still fall pregnant when breastfeeding.
LAM’s effectiveness relies on the exclusive breastfeeding of the baby and the fact that the mother has not yet resumed her menstrual cycle.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of LAM decreases as the baby grows older or the mother’s period returns.
In such cases, breastfeeding alone cannot be relied upon as a birth control method.
Therefore, it’s advisable to use additional contraceptive methods to avoid pregnancy while breastfeeding.
Can You Fall Pregnant While Breastfeeding If Your Period Hasn’t Returned?
The chances of getting pregnant are lower before your menstrual cycle resumes. However, it’s still possible to conceive even if you menstrual cycle hasn’t returned.
Ovulation precedes menstruation, which means you can release an egg before experiencing your first postpartum period. Therefore, it’s possible you may have ovulated and are fertile without realizing it.
To minimize the risk of an unplanned pregnancy during this time, it’s recommended to use alternative contraceptive methods.
Ask your healthcare provider to break down your options and select the most suitable method for your situation.
Does Breastfeeding Affect Your Fertility?
Breastfeeding can temporarily impact your fertility due to the hormones involved in lactation.
Prolactin, the hormone that promotes breast milk production, can suppress the release of estrogen and progesterone.
These are necessary for ovulation and the menstrual cycle. When prolactin levels are high, your body may not ovulate or have regular periods.
However, this effect varies between individuals, and some women may experience regular ovulation and menstruation while breastfeeding.
As your baby starts nursing less frequently, the prolactin levels decrease, and your fertility will likely return to normal.
While it’s possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding, the chances are lower. This is especially true if you exclusively breastfeed and have not yet resumed your menstrual cycle.
Nevertheless, it’s crucial to be aware of the possibility of conception and use additional contraception if needed.
1.) How Effective Is Breastfeeding For Birth Control?
When practiced correctly, the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) can effectively prevent pregnancy up to 98%.
However, its effectiveness decreases as the baby grows, starts consuming solid foods, or when the mother’s periods return.
2.) How Long Can Breastfeeding Delay The Return Of Fertility?
The duration varies among individuals. Fertility could return within a few months of breastfeeding for some.
While others might not ovulate or menstruate for over a year. Generally, fertility returns to normal as the baby starts consuming solids or nursing less frequently.
3.) What Are Some Alternative Contraceptive Methods To Use While Breastfeeding?
Several options include barrier methods (condoms, diaphragms), hormonal methods (progestin-only pills, hormonal IUDs, implants, injections), and non-hormonal IUDs. Speak to your healthcare provider about the best options for your situation.