Can I become pregnant while breastfeeding?
- Is it possible to conceive so soon?
However, every woman’s body is different and hormone levels vary from one woman to the other. For some women, the ovaries continue to release eggs despite the presence of prolactin produced by breastfeeding. Therefore, breastfeeding does not always prevent pregnancy.
In studies conducted by the World Health Organization and researchers to determine if breastfeeding can effectively prevent pregnancy, results have shown that in 98 percent of the times, breastfeeding was a barrier to conception if three criteria were met:
You must be fully or nearly fully breastfeeding. This means you should be breastfeeding at night and have regular and small intervals between feeding times.
You have not resumed your menstrual periods. Any kind of vaginal bleeding after the 56th postpartum day is a sign that fertility has returned.
Your baby is younger than six months.
Any disruption to breastfeeding such as when you return to work, introducing solid food into the baby‘s diet or when the baby sleeps through the night, your chances of conceiving improves. Even if you continue to nurse your baby beyond six months, your chances of getting pregnant are significantly higher even if your menstruation has not returned.
I’m still breastfeeding but would like to try for another baby. How do I ensure I’m fertile?
To encourage the return of fertility, you can space out the amount of time in between feeds, reduce or eliminate nighttime feeds by allowing at least one six-hour period without breastfeeding and shorten the length of your breastfeeding sessions.
Decreasing the total amount of time that you spend breastfeeding will bring your period and therefore your fertility back. However, do keep in mind that during a baby’s first year of life, providing breast milk to your baby should still be the priority.
These answers have been brought to you by The Breastfeeding Experts Website at www.thebreastfeedingexperts.com proudly supported by Philips AVENT
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