Contraception Behavioral Methods Lactational Amenorrhea

 The lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) is a pregnancy-prevention approach that focuses on the body’s natural link between breastfeeding and infertility. LAM significantly reduces a woman’s risk of becoming pregnant during the first six months after giving birth, before you stop breastfeeding. However, for LAM to effectively prevent pregnancy, women must practice this method correctly.

How Lactational Amenorrhea Works

Breastfeeding the first six months of a child’s life changes the way the mother’s body works. The lactation process stops a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs. Without an egg, pregnancy can’t occur.

The Lactational Amenorrhea Method-Lactational Amenorrhea -HealthTree.com

According to Planned Parenthood, if a woman practices the lactational amenorrhea method correctly–which means she’s breastfeeding exclusively and hasn’t gotten her period–the risk for pregnancy is about 1 percent.

After your child reaches six months of age, back-up protection is needed to prevent pregnancy. Also, if you stop breastfeeding during any time, lactational amenorrhea method isn’t recommended, and alternative contraceptive is necessary.

Benefits of the Lactation Amenorrhea Method

Breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy has many benefits, including:

  • It works immediately after childbirth.

  • It’s a natural method of contraception, which is appealing to many women.

  • It’s safe.

  • LAM doesn’t require a prescription or device.

  • The lactational amenorrhea method doesn’t affect hormone levels.  

    The Disadvantages of Breastfeeding and Infertility

    Breastfeeding can be difficult for new mothers. Some babies have latching problems, which can be exhausting to an overly tired new mom. Mothers who want the benefits of LAM should consider consulting a lactation specialist right away, to ensure lactation isn’t interrupted.

    Breastfeeding may also reduce vaginal lubrication and make breasts seem less sexual to a woman. Once your period starts again, the effectiveness of the lactational amenorrhea method isn’t reliable. If you stop breastfeeding exclusively, you’re more susceptible to pregnancy. Women in these situations should discuss other forms of contraception with their doctors.

    In addition, LAM doesn’t provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Consider using either a male or female condom if you plan to engage in potentially risky sexual behavior.

     

    Resources

     

    Center for Young Women’s Health Staff. (2010). Lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) for women who are breastfeeding. Retrieved February 9, 2010 from the Center for Young Women’s Health Web site: http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/lam.html.

    La Leche League International Staff. (2010). The lactational amenorrhea method (LAM): Another choice for mothers. Retrieved February 9, 2010 from the La Leche League International Web site: http://www.llli.org/ba/Aug93.html.

    Planned Parenthood Staff. (2010). Breastfeeding as birth control. Retrieved February 9, 2010 from the Planned Parenthood site: http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/lam.html.