Birth control and breastfeeding

The first ovulation after childbirth comes in a different period in very woman. There is no general rule when will ovulation happen but it is a well known fact that breastfeeding plays an important role in this process. If the mother is breastfeeding her baby, the first menstrual cycle should occur in around six months. Otherwise, ovulation usually occurs between four and six weeks after childbirth. But, the fact is that the menstrual cycle occurs just two weeks after ovulation so chances are that you can be fertile right after childbirth without being aware of that fact.

Those who believe that breastfeeding is a safe method of preventing pregnancy are not playing safe. It is a well known fact that during breastfeeding, the mother’s brain secretes a hormone called prolactin which is responsible for milk production. The bigger the amount of this hormone in the system the later you can expect ovulation. However, even a small break between breastfeeding that last more than 5 hours may be just enough to reduce the level of prolactin and the ovulation process can begin. This is why even mothers who are breastfeeding should start thinking about birth control.

In these cases, birth control pills are not recommended because the estrogen that they contain can stop the production of milk. Furthermore, these hormones can be transferred to the child through the milk. The high amount of estrogen that is usually found in these pills can cause negative effects in the child’s development. After childbirth, natural birth control methods are not that effective. The menstrual cycle after childbirth should stabilize after a while.

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Between the 6th and 8th week after childbirth you can use an intrauterine device. This is the period when the uterus gets back to its natural form. Besides that you should wait for the vaginal discharge to stop in order to avoid infections. The biggest advantage of using intrauterine devices is the fact that the woman shouldn’t worry about pregnancy in the next 5 years. Of course, side effects are always present and things such as injuries during insertion, losing the IUDs and changing its position are possible. Some women can also experience bleeding. There are certain IUDs that can decrease the intensity and duration of bleeding during the menstrual cycle.

So-called mini pills and three-month injections don’t contain estrogen (they only contain gestagen) and they are another good birth control option during breastfeeding period. These pills don’t stop milk production and flow which makes them perfect for breastfeeding mums. The hormones can reach the baby’s body through the milk but experts claim that the hormones used in these pills are harmless. The only disadvantage of these pills is that they need to be consumed every day at the same time. The three-month injections are better because they are used once in three months. But, they contain more gestagen.

Finally, you can always try the traditional barrier methods like using condoms or a diaphragm. These methods are perfectly safe for breastfeeding mothers.

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