Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?

Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?

When we breastfeed, we often go months without getting our period, but this natural method of birth control is not safe.

Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding
Between 1 and 11% of women become pregnant during the period in which they do not get their period.Getty.

Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?

In a week my son will be one year old and I still haven’t gotten my period. This is probably because I’m still breastfeeding him: the baby’s sucking increases prolactin levels and this hormone is antagonistic to those that cause ovulation.

The body is wise and seems to send important messages to the brain: “I recently had a baby, I am breastfeeding and my body is still recovering, it is not yet ready to host another human being. The head listens carefully, promotes successful breastfeeding and inhibits ovulation.

However, after I gave birth, my obstetrician made a key clarification: just because you’re breastfeeding and you don’t get your period doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. That’s why, at that same appointment, she prescribed birth control that doesn’t affect breastfeeding.

Many breastfeeding mothers, however, when they see that their periods are not coming, have unprotected sex, convinced that they will not be able to get pregnant. That is why it is important to understand that using breastfeeding as a method of birth control is only absolutely safe if the following conditions are met:

  • 1. The baby is less than three months old
  • 2. The mother doesn’t get her period
  • 3. Breastfeeding is exclusive (the baby only drinks breast milk), on demand (every time he asks for it) and it does not happen that he goes more than 6 hours without sucking at night and 4 during the day.

Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding

During the baby’s second trimester, this method is no longer 100% effective, but 98-99%. These data from Alba, a breastfeeding support association, are supported by studies that have confirmed that mothers who meet these requirements do not have their first period before 6 months postpartum, and some maintain amenorrhea until after the child’s second birthday.

Although it is unlikely that we will become pregnant if all three conditions are met, the figures indicate that between 1 and 11% of women become pregnant during the period when they do not get their period. This is because it is very easy for these conditions not to be fully met.

It is also important to note that the method is not as effective if we use the breast pump instead of feeding the baby directly from the breast.

After six months after childbirth, when complementary feeding begins, the contraceptive effectiveness of this method is gradually reduced, as intake decreases substantially.

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