Birth control for breastfeeding mums

What kind of birthcontrol for breastfeeding mums is safe for me? Read on for more info here...

 Most women who breastfeed exclusively will stop having periods, a condition called lactational amenorrhea. While you are breastfeeding, your chance of conception drop to about 0.5% to 2%, compared to 20% to 40% for the average women. Despite these low rates of conception however, there is still the chance of pregnancy.

Most contraceptive methods are safe to use for breastfeeding mums and will not put an infant at risk. However, some forms of birth control can be detrimental to a breastfeeding mum’s milk supply.

Can I use hormonal birth control while breastfeeding?

Doctors recommend that breastfeeding women use contraceptives that contain only progestin. Progestin birth control come in several forms:

Birth Control Method Description Effectiveness Pros Cons
'Minipill' - progestin only pill Daily contraceptive pill 98-99%
Intra-uterine Device (IUD) A device inserted into the uterus, semi permanent 99.2-99.4%
Contraceptive injection Done four times a year by a medical professional 98-99%

Doctors recommend against using contraceptives that contain estrogen. Effects may vary between people, but estrogen may interrupt your milk supply, especially if you are already having supply issues, or if you are nursing a child who is older than 1.

What are my non-hormonal birth control options while breastfeeding?

Aside from hormonal birth control, you can also look at some alternative options.

Birth Control Method Description Effectiveness Pros Cons  
Male condom A rubber, tube-like sheath made from latex that fits over an erect penis 98% Widespread and easily available in Watsons, Guardian, and other supermarkets; protects against sexually transmitted infections Possibility of breakage of tearing during intercourse
Female condom A soft disposable sheath placed in the vagina before intercourse 95% Protection against some STIs Difficult to find in Singapore
Spermicide A chemical agent that disables sperm 82%; more when combined with other forms of contraception Can provide lubrication during sex No protection against STIs and some people might be sensitive towards it
Diaphragm A rubber shaped cap that's fitted over the vagina 91% (for women who have not given birth); 74% (for women who have given birth before) Some protection against STIs - can be fitted 6-8 hours before intercourse Proper insertion is required and can be tricky to get right

All of these options are endorsed by the Singapore Health Promotion Board, but speak to your doctor about the best choice for you. Each individual is different!

Need help? Don’t fret!

In doubt about your options and want to know how other mums fare? Please consult a doctor, who can offer you more personalised advice according to you and your baby’s situation.

theAsianparent also has a Singapore Breastfeeding Mums Support Group that you can join for mum-to-mum advice.
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