Can I get pregnant while I am breastfeeding?
The short answer is "Yes." It is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding. However, breastfeeding can be used as part of your family planning technique. As a matter of fact, if you can answer yes to the following three* questions, your risk of pregnancy is less than two percent.
1. Is your infant less than six months old?
2. Are you amenorrheic, that is, are your menstrual periods absent?
3. Is your baby breastfeeding around the clock without receiving other foods, beverages or pacifiers?
Once the answer to any of these questions becomes "No," it will be time to move to the next stage of your family planning. It helps if you have made your plans while the above questions can be answered "Yes." If you want to delay pregnancy, choose the method of contraception you would like to use. The materials in the "Resources" section will help you to evaluate the appropriate contraceptive method for you. Of course, if you are ready to conceive than no form of birth control is necessary.
See this fully referenced article published in LLLI journal, BREASTFEEDING ABSTRACTS for more details.
Resources for Additional Information
Contacting an LLL Leader in your area or attending a meeting may help. To find a Group near you, call 1-800-LALECHE or look at our LLL Web Page Index. If you are unable to find a local Group, you may consider attending one of our on-line LLL meetings.
"The Breastfeeding Dyad and Contraception" from BREASTFEEDING ABSTRACTS
"Natural Child Spacing and Breastfeeding" from LEAVEN
The following items may be available from the LLLI Online Store or from your local Leader:
THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, published by La Leche League International, is the most complete resource available for the breastfeeding mother.
"Breastfeeding and Fertility"
Tells how and why breastfeeding delays the return of fertility when mothers don't introduce formula or other foods in the early months. Referenced. (No 331-17, 75¢)
Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition, Third Edition, by Marilyn Shannon
Intriguing and accessible book explores how what you eat may affect your menstrual cycles and your fertility, and supports breastfeeding and a whole-foods approach to nutrition. Author discusses nutritional connections to PMS, painful periods, heavy bleeding, irregular cycles, repeated miscarriages, and even infertility. (Softcover, 204 pages, No 1055-7, $12.95)
Your Fertility Signals: Using Them to Achieve or Avoid Pregnancy, Naturally, by Merryl Winstein
This book can help to achieve or prevent pregnancy, reduce or eliminate contraceptive use, even enhance the intimacy in your relationship. It includes information on low fertility, stress, breastfeeding, post-pill, and pre-menopause. It's a complete, illustrated, step-by-step guide, and includes a bibliography, glossary, and references. (Softcover, 160 pages. No 76-7, $13.95)