Can you conceive while breastfeeding?

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Did you know that there are still chances of conceiving while breastfeeding? How do you maximise the chance to conceive? Or how do you avoid getting pregnant just yet? We have some good advice from Dr Dana Srither MBSS (Singapore).

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Once your infant is older than six months, the chance of becoming pregnant, even before your periods return, is increased.

When you first embraced your little one, you felt that your family was complete.

But now that your baby is crawling around and beginning to interact with others around her, you may start to have this feeling inside telling you that maybe it’s time for a younger sister or brother for your firstborn?

Or maybe you are not quite ready yet so feel worried that you might get pregnant when your first child is still so tiny?

If you are still breastfeeding or your period has yet to return after giving birth, will you be able to get pregnant just yet?

Dr Dana Elliot Srither MBSS (Singapore), Grad Dip Family Medicine, is a certified Family Physician who believes in the principles of “Get Well” and “Stay Well”, offers some great insight and advice for all mums.

How breastfeeding affects your fertility

In 1988, a group of scientists met in Bellagio, Italy to define a set of guidelines that a woman could use to predict her return to fertility during breastfeeding.

The scientists reviewed data from studies regarding return to fertility and determined that breastfeeding can provide up to 98% effective contraception if three criteria are met:

1) The mother has not experienced the return of her menstrual periods (bleeding up to the 56th postpartum day is considered part of the postpartum recovery process and is not counted as menstrual bleeding)

2) The mother is fully or nearly fully breastfeeding

3) The baby is less than six months old


Is it an effective form of birth control?

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Conceiving while breastfeeding is still possible.

These guidelines later defined a new method of family planning called the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM), which is a natural birth control technique based on the fact that breast milk production causes lack of menstruation.

Clinical trials have shown that LAM is at least as effective as the Bellagio scientists predicted it would be.

Fewer than 1% of LAM users in three clinical trials became pregnant when all the three LAM criteria were met.

Of the three LAM criteria, the return of menses is the most important indicator of fertility.

The studies conducted by Family Health International in Pakistan and the Philippines have shown that pregnancy is rare even beyond six months and the end of full breastfeeding among women who do not experience vaginal bleeding.

Only 1.1% of the women in Pakistan and 2.6% of the women in the Philippines conceived during 12 months of lactational amenorrhea.

What is full breastfeeding? And what other forms of birth control are there which are safe for breastfeeding mums? Keep reading to find out!

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