Getting Pregnant While Breastfeeding

Is getting pregnant while breastfeeding common? About 19% of lactating mothers will become pregnant by the twelfth month if no contraceptive method is employed. Scientific evidence about fertility while breast feeding is limited and yet the nursing mom needs to know if she can get pregnant - whether the goal is prevention or adding to the family.

If you want to prevent getting pregnant while breastfeeding, the key is frequent breastfeedings. In order to prevent pregnancy you need to keep prolactin levels high. It clears so rapidly from the blood, so frequent feedings are necessary to keep it high enough to suppress ovulation. If your baby nurses less frequently, prolactin levels fall and reproductive hormones increase, and eventually fertility returns.

Similarly, a woman who is breastfeeding an older baby or a toddler might want to know how she can get pregnant while breastfeeding. Sometimes baby's nursing may continue to affect a woman's fertility even when she wants to get pregnant and this can be frustrating. Many mothers in this situation have succeeded at getting pregnant by getting their toddler to cut back on breastfeeding, especially at night.

In recent years scientific studies have confirmed that breastfeeding delays the return of fertility.A woman's postpartum fertility depends on many factors, some known and some yet to be discovered. These include lactation status and patterns that are dependent on the mother and her nursling while other variables such as the individual hormonal fertility thresholds; are still physiological mysteries.

The individual variations are huge. Statistically, half of all nursing women have a resumption of menses by the tenth postpartum month and a return of ovulation by the eleventh month.

Many factors influence fertility while breast feeding. Research supports that in a most cases, the more frequently a baby is breastfed, the younger the baby is, and the less sustenance he gets from other sources - the later the mother's periods will return, the later she will be likely to be getting pregnant while breastfeeding.

The contraceptive effects on fertility while breast feeding can function as a protective barrier against a new, unwanted pregnancy or alternatively present an barrier to bringing a desired new baby into the family.

Breastfeeding style that can prevent pregnancy

nursing on cue

keeping baby close

providing all nourishment and liquids at the breast for the first five to eight months

nursing to comfort the baby

It does NOT include the use of bottles or pacifiers, mother-baby separation, parent-imposed feeding schedules or restriction of night nursing. All of these practices limit the nipple stimulation that suppresses ovulation.

Many mothers find they remain amenorrheic longer than six months.

The chances of pregnancy occurring during the first three months are very slight.

During the second three months, there is a less than 2% chance of becoming pregnant before the first menstrual period.

After six months postpartum there is a six percent chance of becoming pregnant before the first period.

During the second six months postpartum, an amenorrheic woman who is relying on exclusive breastfeeding alone has a 94% chance of not becoming pregnant.

7% experience a return of their menses in the first six months following childbirth.

37% get their periods back during months seven to twelve.

48% get their periods back sometime during the second year after childbirth.

8% go longer than two years without periods. Despite the variability in the return of menses, there is not as much variation in the return of fertility as might appear.

Women who experience a return of their periods in the first six months tend to be infertile for a few cycles, while the early cycles of women experiencing a longer period of amenorrhea are often fertile.

X2 Clearblue Easy Digital Pregnancy Test - getting pregnant while breastfeeding