Contraception while breastfeeding
Postnatal contraception must be prescribed by a gynecologist only as choosing the contraceptives without a consultation with a doctor, you may do much harm to yourself and your baby. Particular attention should be given to the choice of contraceptives if a woman is breastfeeding.
Contraceptives during lactation should meet the following requirements:
- They should not change the composition of milk;
- They should not decrease milk supply.
Natural methods of birth control during breastfeeding
This birth control method is based on the fact that during the first six months when a woman is breastfeeding, she does not ovulate at all. Her menstrual cycle is not restored yet after the childbirth and a woman can not get pregnant.
To make natural birth control method effective during breastfeeding, observe the following rules:
- Do not stick to a schedule but feed your baby as often as he or she wants it;
- Feed only with your breast milk without any other supplements;
- It is not recommended to give pacifiers to a baby;
- The interval between breastfeedings should not be over 2 hours.
Natural contraception during breastfeeding is a very individual thing. There are special criteria to understand that this method is not effective anymore.
The criteria are:
- Start of the period (when the menstrual cycle is not completely restored, any vaginal bleeding is regarded as period);
- introduction of the supplements to a baby’s diet (any type and in any amount);
- Longer interval between the feedings (even at night);
- After 6 months since the childbirth (in this case, other criteria are not important).
Lactation amenorrhea is a temporary birth control method. However, due to individual characteristics of a female body such postnatal contraception is not reliable.
This method is based on the characteristics of a menstrual cycle and can not be used as a birth control method after a childbirth. Contraception during lactation can not be based on the cycle phases as they are not stable yet. Hormonal imbalance in pregnancy and delivery disrupt a menstrual cycle and it is impossible to identify the days when a woman is infertile.
Hormonal contraception during lactation
After a childbirth and during breastfeeding a woman may use special contraceptives which are called mini pills. Their active ingredient is progestogen which does not affect the composition of breast milk and its supply.
Mini pills increase the amount and viscosity of the vaginal mucus. Such method of contraception for breastfeeding women does not allow the sperm to overcome the mucus barrier to enter the egg.
Additionally, hormonal pills with progestogens inhibit egg fertilizing ability and have effect on the uterus mucous membrane. Even if fertilization occurs, a zygote will not be able to attach to the uterine wall.
Advantages of the mini pills:
- No side effects;
- Safe for a baby;
- Prevention of inflammatory disorders in the reproductive system;
- Painless period;
- Anticoagulant effect;
- No adverse mental side effects.
Contraindications of such contraception method during lactation:
- breast cancer;
- destructive disorders of the liver (cancer, hepatitis, cirrhosis);
- malignant growth in the kidneys;
- cerebrovascular diseases;
- epilepsy and other conditions requiring the use of anticonvulsant medications;
- vaginal bleeding of unknown cause.
Even if you do not have any contraindications, consult your gynecologist before taking mini pills.
The rules for using hormonal contraception for breastfeeding moms:
- You should take the pill in a strictly regimented fashion;
- The pills should be taken not earlier than two months after the delivery;
- Take the pills in one and the same time.
Be aware that such method of contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases and it is less reliable than traditional hormonal contraception.
Emergency contraception during lactation
Contraceptives that can be taken after unprotected sex are contraindicated in breastfeeding women. Such pills contain too many substances that change the composition of breast milk. However, Postinor is regarded as a relatively safe medication as it contains a significant dose of gestogen.
A breastfeeding woman should take emergency contraception measures within three days since she had unprotected sex. It is recommended to consult a gynecologist who will choose the most optimal and safe contraceptives.
Barrier methods of birth control for breastfeeding women
Male and female condoms are the easiest and reliable birth control method which also protects against sexually transmitted diseases.
- They do not have adverse effect on lactation;
- They are highly effective (especially during the first six months after a childbirth);
- Protection against sexually transmitted diseases;
- They can be used shortly after a childbirth.
The price is one of the disadvantages of the condoms. Also the condoms may provoke allergic reactions. Before using a female condom, consult your doctor who will help you to choose the most optimal size of a condom.
Intrauterine contraception for breastfeeding women
Intrauterine devices are widely used and not only as a prenatal birth control method. If delivery was not complicated then an intrauterine device may used shortly after a childbirth. This method does not allow a fertilized egg to attach to the uterine wall preventing pregnancy.
- Absolutely safe for a baby;
- Very effective (98% efficiency);
- A long-term contraceptive method;
- It does not affect the chances of getting pregnant in the future.
- Only a doctor has to insert and remove this type of a contraceptive;
- No protection against sexually transmitted diseases;
- In rare cases, a woman may experience discomfort in the lower abdomen;
- Painful period (shortly after the insertion).
Women who prefer this birth control method should regularly visit a gynecologist and remove the device timely to avoid the development of reproductive system disorders.
This method of postnatal and postabortion contraception is often used when pregnancy poses a serious health and life risk for a woman. However, tubal ligation can be performed by the wish of a woman if she already had children and she is over 3 years old.
Choosing this method, be aware that fertility restoration is not always possible, so this method is recommended ti use only when a woman does not plan to have any children.