With the rise of online health forums, many women have come to know about the Lactational Amenorrhea method of birth control. Only breastfeeding can be a natural and safe family planning strategy for couples who recently had a child.
Luckily, there are numerous reliable study results available to back up the effectiveness of this contraceptive method. In one study, the cumulative pregnancy rates were tested. And the rate was 2.9 per 100 women during the first 6 months of breastfeeding.
Therefore, the LAM method is completely safe and practical for new moms.
Here in this write-up, we will provide you with all the necessary details, and scientific data about how breastfeeding works as a contraceptive method. Let’s dive in.
What Is Breastfeeding as Birth Control?
Breastfeeding can be used as a highly effective form of temporary birth control.
Commonly known as the Lactational Amenorrhea Method or LAM, this method is only applicable to exclusive breastfeeding mothers.
Here, ‘Lactational’ is a term related to breastfeeding and ‘Amenorrhea’ is a condition of not having your monthly periods.
So, if you didn’t have your period after giving birth, you can go for this natural contraception.
However, this method is effective just for the first 6 months after giving birth, and it will work only by nursing your baby from the breast (no pumping). This is called continuous or exclusive breastfeeding.
Keep in mind, if you feed your baby water, vitamins, juice, or other liquids and solids, LAM might not work in your case.
How Effective Is Breastfeeding As Birth Control?
Controlling birth via breastfeeding is a highly effective birth control method as long as you follow the protocols.
If continuous breastfeeding is always used, less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year. In case continuous breastfeeding is not always used, 2 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year.
This method will work only if the three following conditions are maintained –
- Exclusively breastfeed your baby at least every 4 hours during the daytime and every 6 hours at night
- After you’ve given birth, you didn’t have your period even once. Postpartum bleeding isn’t considered in this case. Breastfeeding is only a temporary method of birth control. Once you get your period again, breastfeeding is no longer a reliable form of preventing pregnancy.
- Your baby is only 6 months old. The success rate of the LAM method lessens once the baby completes its first 180 days.
According to the research data, the success rate of the LAM method is about 98%. This means breastfeeding is more or equally effective than other contraceptive methods.
How Does It Work?
Prolactin is the hormone responsible for producing breast milk. When the amount of Prolactin is increased, your brain receives signals not to secret the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone.
All these hormones are needed for ovulation or the release of the egg from your ovary.
And as we all know that pregnancy cannot happen if an egg isn’t released.
While you are breastfeeding continuously, it promotes the secretion of the Prolactin hormone. Hence, the chances of getting pregnant during the 6 months of lactation period are minimal.
What Are the Benefits of Using Breastfeeding as Birth Control?
As a natural way of controlling birth, breastfeeding or LAM has countless benefits, including –
Breastfeeding is free, simple, and convenient. You need to breastfeed your newborn anyway. So, turning this into a way of getting rid of harmful contraceptive methods will be a clever move.
Nutrition for Baby
Breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby. So, the benefits are twofold here, your baby is getting all the nutrients for its growth while you don’t have to worry about unwanted pregnancy.
Another benefit of LAM is that it’s easy to follow. You only have to meet three simple criteria to dump your contraceptive pills for 6 long months.
Without a doubt, breastfeeding is the safest birth control method you can adopt. As you know, contraceptive pills might lower the levels of estrogen, testosterone, and other sex hormones. Therefore, these pills can affect your natural sexual urges negatively.
No Side Effects
Similarly, most contraception methods have some side effects. If you want to stay healthy and active, taking breastfeeding as birth control is your best option.
Breastfeeding has been proven to be 98% effective! This means you don’t have to worry about unwanted pregnancy anymore!
Suitable for All
Even if you’ve undergone various surgeries like breast enlargement, female enhancement, etc., this method will still work fine
Free of Cost
Unlike other birth control methods, breastfeeding won’t cost you a penny!
Approved by All
Finally, if you’re a part of a religious group, you should know that this method of birth control is accepted by all such communities.[SA1]
What Are the Downsides of Using Breastfeeding as Birth Control?
Despite having so many benefits, not everyone prefers breastfeeding as a birth control method. The reasons can be one of the following –
- Breastfeeding does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and fatal diseases like HIV
- Some women find it difficult to only feed their baby breast milk. Besides, if anyone has conditions like herpes simplex, H1N1 influenza, or tuberculosis, they are suggested not to breastfeed. This means the LAM method isn’t suitable for everyone.
- This birth control method only works for about 6 months. After 6 months, you will need to find another method of birth control.
- If you fail to strictly follow the three protocols, this birth control method won’t work at all.
Where Can I Get More Information?
For more information on breastfeeding as birth control, talk to your healthcare provider. Also, you can visit reliable government sites online to get authentic research data on this method.
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About Audrey Kelly, PharmD