Exclusive breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy

Exclusive breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy!

by Brigitte (Canada)

You mentioned in the web site that exclusive breastfeeding prevents pregnancy. THIS IS NOT TRUE in all women! My husband is a doctor and he would never let a patient rely solely on breastfeeding if a patient did not want to become pregnant again. Furthermore none of my doctors, for any of my pregnancies, would consider this an option for me either.

It is irresponsible to further the myth. It is true theoretically, however a woman can ovulate prior to having her period (which she won’t know is about to happen) and get pregnant. Certain medical conditions and certain variations in people make it irresponsible to claim this as an absolute.

My great aunt had 18 kids because her husband would give her 1 month off (and she use to ONLY breastfeed in the hopes that she would prevent another pregnancy)

I would like to conclude that I have 5 kids and am pregnant with my 6th. I breastfed all my children for durations of between 14 months and over 2 years. I am a great believer in breastfeeding and have convinced many of my friends and family members to at least try with pleasing results.

Thank you for your time


Responses:


Better sure than surprised
by Cassie

I breastfed my babies exclusively for 5 months and during that time I didn’t get my period and I didn’t get pregnant either; but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have gotten pregnant. Maybe I was just lucky. Wikipedia states that LAM is 98% to 99.5% effective in preventing pregnancy – plus there’s a whole pile of conditions that must be met.

If I was sure that I’m done having children, I would do something more effective like tubal ligation or get my husband to have a vasectomy. I wouldn’t rely on breastfeeding as a method of contraception. There’s a time in your life when it’s better to be sure than to be surprised.


LAM Comes with MANY Rules and Conditions
by Marie Davis RN IBCLC

The problem is that LAM does not appear to work in westernized countries. I believe it is partly because we don’t sleep with our babies. I also wonder if our nutritional status has something to do with it. Biologically we are programmed to reproduce, but nature made it so the body will not sacrifice itself for a pregnancy. The body of a woman who is breastfeeding technically wouldn’t use the extra energy for another pregnancy. If that energy is abundant, it makes sense that pregnancy would occur.

I tell women: if you don’t want to get pregnant then use something in addition to breastfeeding. I don’t think one can ever claimed LAM as “an absolute” because there are rules to follow (as there are with the rhythm method or with birth control pills for that matter). No method, other than total abstinence, is 100 percent effective. Even with the pill’s 98 percent effectiveness rate, if not done “correctly,” it too will fail. (For example with the pill, you must: take it the same time every day, use another form in addition to the pill if you are on antibiotics, or have vomiting or diarrhea, etc…) I’m sure we all know of someone who got pregnant while on the pill or using Depo-Provera etc…

In classes, I tell women not to rely solely LAM if they don’t want another baby right now but it is possible for LAM to work for them if that is their choice. However, I believe that women using LAM, as their primary birth control method should not do it on their own. Just as would I educate women on how to use other birth control methods for optimal effectiveness, I send women who want to use the LAM method to a LAM counselor.