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Breastfeeding and Birth Control

What About Natural Methods?

Some women are more interested in natural methods of birth control. The two types of natural birth control used by women who are breastfeeding include the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) and periodic abstinence.
If performed correctly, the lactational amenorrhea method can be used for the first six months after childbirth with 94 percent effectiveness. LAM utilizes the absence in menstrual periods a woman experiences when fully breastfeeding a child, which is defined as supplementing no more than two mouthfuls a day and waiting no more than four to six hours between feedings.
This method can be used for up to six months or until the woman begins her period. Please speak to your healthcare provider to learn more about the LAM.
Periodic abstinence, or the rhythm method, uses small symptomatic changes in a woman's body to understand when the woman is infertile. The couple closely monitors symptoms such as body temperature and cervical mucus production. Couples practice abstinence until the woman is infertile.
This method is likely to cause pregnancy at a considerably higher rate than other methods and cannot be used by women who have not restarted their menstrual cycle. Please talk to your healthcare provider about whether this option is a good choice for you and your partner.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these methods with your healthcare provider to find an option that is best for you while breastfeeding. Your healthcare provider should discuss birth control options with you at your six-week postpartum checkup. With a wide variety of options available, there is bound to be at least one method that suits your particular needs.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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