3 Things Nursing Mothers Need To Know About Birth Control


The ability to plan a comfortable amount of space between pregnancies is an important matter for your health and your peace of mind. But birth control after a pregnancy can be a tricky subject, especially if you're breastfeeding your baby. You need a form of birth control that's effective, but that won't have a negative impact on your nursing relationship with your baby. Take a look at a few things that you should know about birth control as a nursing mother.

Breastfeeding as Birth Control

You may have heard that breastfeeding can function as a form of birth control itself. This is known as the lactational amenorrhoea method (LAM), and it can work, but there are some important caveats that you need to be aware of. LAM is only effective if your periods have not yet returned post-pregnancy, if your baby is less than six months old, and if you breastfeed exclusively and on-demand.

If you're supplementing with bottles of formula or even pumped breastmilk, then you're not practicing exclusive and on-demand breastfeeding, and you can't count on LAM to work for you. Many mothers must return to work within a few weeks or months of giving birth and must rely on supplemental bottles. If you're one of them, LAM may be out of the question for you. It's also important to keep in mind that you can ovulate before getting your first period post-pregnancy, so you may not know exactly when you become fertile again. And since LAM is only reliable for about six months postpartum, mothers who intend to breastfeed for longer than that still need to explore other birth control options.

Hormonal Birth Control

Hormonal birth control options, such as the birth control pills, shots, implants, and hormone-releasing IUDs are some of the most effective and convenient forms of birth control on the market. The good news is that these birth control methods are not harmful to your baby. The bad news is that some of them can be harmful to your milk supply.

Birth control methods that contain the hormone estrogen have been linked to a low milk supply and early termination of breastfeeding. This is true even when you wait until breastfeeding is well-established before starting birth control. Many forms of birth control pills, as well as the birth control patches and rings, do contain estrogen, as well as the hormone progestin. However, there are some progestin-only options.

Your OBGYN may recommend the mini-pill, which is a birth control pill that contains only progestin. The birth control shot, and some forms of birth control implants and IUDs also contain progestin. Progestin usually does not impact your milk supply, though some mothers do experience supply problems when taking progestin-only forms of birth control. For this reason, many doctors recommend a trial period of the mini-pill before starting a longer-lasting form of progestin-only birth control like an implant or shot. That way, you can easily discontinue the medication if it does affect your ability to nurse.

Non-Hormonal Birth Control

Barrier methods of birth control, including condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps, are breastfeeding-friendly. Keep in mind, though, that if you used a diaphragm before your pregnancy, you need to be fitted with a new one post-pregnancy because your cervix may have changed positions.

You also have the option of a non-hormonal copper IUD. These are implanted the same way as hormone-containing IUDs are, but they prevent pregnancy because the copper ions inhibit sperm movement and prevent implantation.

It's important to talk to your OBGYN about your birth control options after a pregnancy, since you may not be able to go back to exactly what you were using before. Make sure to discuss your nursing status with an OBGYN, like Lifecycles OB/GYN, PC, so that your doctor can help you find a birth control solution that works for you and your baby.  


18 May 2017

A Healthy Pregnancy

Have you recently found out you’re expecting your first baby? Perhaps, you’re both ecstatic and apprehensive. You likely want to do everything in you power to protect the health of your unborn child. If you can relate to this scenario, talk with your trusted OBGYN. This medical professional can offer expert suggestions about issues things such as proper diet and exercise. For instance, your OBGYN might advise you to consume more foods packed with certain nutrients such as potassium and calcium. This individual may also recommend you complete some form of light to moderate exercise on most days of the week. On this blog, I hope you will discover ingenious tips to help you enjoy a healthy pregnancy.