Sunday, April 30, 2023

Does breastfeeding prevent pregnancy without the need for other contraindications?

Does breastfeeding prevent pregnancy?

If you're breastfeeding, does unprotected sex lead to pregnancy?

The answer is yes, prolactin or the hormone that stimulates milk production in the breast prevents ovulation from occurring by inhibiting the production of the hormones progesterone and estrogen, and thus it prevents fertility (ovulation, hormone production, or nesting and fertilization of eggs).

By breastfeeding your baby, you keep your prolactin levels high, and this ensures a 98% effective contraceptive method.

Conditions for contraception due to breastfeeding:

For this significant contraceptive efficacy of breastfeeding to occur, the following conditions must be met:

  • Breastfeeding should be exclusive, i.e. the baby should be fed only on breast milk without additives such as water, herbal teas or the like.
  • The period between each feeding should not exceed 4 hours during the day and 6 hours at night. Where the concentration of prolactin hormone is higher in the evening and at night.
  • In studies with mothers, it has been shown that women who skip feeding their baby at night increase the amount of hormones responsible for ovulation secreted by the gonads, thus increasing the possibility of pregnancy. In fact, it is often recommended to use a method of contraception while breastfeeding for this reason.
  • There should be no bleeding since the end of the eighth week after the baby is born

If one of these elements is left out, the chance of pregnancy is greater. For this reason, breastfeeding is not considered a reliable method of contraception.

Combine breastfeeding and formula milk:

In the case of mixed breastfeeding, i.e. the baby is given breast milk while being given formula, ovulation can return quickly and the likelihood of pregnancy is higher. Therefore, if breastfeeding is partial (only during the day, only at night, or with formula) or if you stop it early, fertility can actually return and pregnancy occurs if you have unprotected sex.

Even in the case of continuous breastfeeding, there are no guarantees that pregnancy will not occur. Certainly, high levels of prolactin will prevent ovulation, but as explained above, it is not 100% effective.

In general, it is possible to guarantee that pregnancy will not occur with a large percentage if the child is fully and permanently breastfed and the conditions specified above are applied. However, six months after birth, it is preferable to use an appropriate contraceptive method if you do not want a new pregnancy.