Exclusively breastfeeding isn't just good for the baby -- it has benefits for mom, too. One of those is that it can act as birth control.
There is a lot for a person to know about lactational amenorrhea. But first, in order to understand that, they must understand how hormones can affect a woman after she has given birth. BabyGaga got to speak with Yasmeen Bruckner about this recently. For those who do not know, Bruckner is a nurse and a midwife, as well as a women's nurse and a health practitioner, and she works at the University Of Washington Northwest Campus Midwives Clinic.
"During this state, people make milk, which is great if they are wanting to provide human milk to their babies. Another benefit is that ovulation and the menstrual cycle are paused for some time. This is called lactational amenorrhea," Bruckner explained. "This temporary hold on fertility is beneficial evolutionarily because it gives the body time to heal, allows for bonding between parent and child, and means there is a focus of resources for this baby."
"There are some downsides to low progesterone and estrogen, though, too. Many people can experience a temporary menopause. They can experience hair loss, changes in their skin such as acne or dryness, as well as a decrease in vaginal lubrication and elasticity which can cause vaginal irritation and, sometimes, pain with penetration during sex. People usually experience a return to their menstrual cycle, and a return to their baseline hormone cycling, around 5-6 months," Bruckner continued. "For some people, though, that can happen much sooner after birth and for other people, things can be irregular until they are completely finished lactating. The downsides of lactational amenorrhea tend to improve once cycling returns."
Also, Bruckner recently discussed similar things on an episode of a podcast called Hormonal. Once one knows how hormones can affect someone after they have had a baby, then it might be easier for them to understand lactational amenorrhea. Here are some of the things that everyone should know about it.
Understanding How It Works
There are many things that a person should know about lactational amenorrhea. One of those things is what causes it to happen in the first place. According to plannedparenthood.org, a woman who chooses to breastfeed her baby (and not feed them in any other way), will not ovulate during that time. However, in order for one to get pregnant, a woman needs to ovulate at some point. If that does not happen, then she won't get pregnant.
It's A Very Effective Birth Control Method
When a person starts some kind of birth control, they will probably wonder how effective it is going to be for them. While lactational amenorrhea is not a perfect form of birth control, it does seem to be a pretty good one. In fact, approximately only 2 out of 100 women who choose to use this as birth control will get pregnant during the time that it is supposed to be working for them.
It Can Be Started Right After Childbirth
When a person begins to use some kind of birth control, they will likely be very curious about what they need to do for it to be as effective as it is supposed to be. When it comes to this method, one should know that it can be started right away. This means that moms can start taking part in it as soon as they have given birth to their babies if they wish to use breastfeeding as a form of birth control.
There Are Plenty Of Advantages
The fact that this form of birth control can be started as soon as a baby is born is not the only advantage one can enjoy if they choose to use this as a form of birth control. According to fhi360.org, there are lots of other advantages as well. For example, any woman who chooses to breastfeed has access to this as a form of birth control. Also, one doesn't need to buy any additional items to do it.
Moms Need To Meet Certain Requirements
There are some requirements that a person must meet if they wish to use this kind of birth control. If these requirements aren't met, then it will likely not be as effective as it should, which can result in pregnancy. For example, one must breastfeed exclusively, and the baby that is being breastfed has to be younger than six months old. This also must be started before a woman's period has started again, according to accessclinics.org.
There Are Disadvantages To This Method
While lactational amenorrhea is a very effective form of birth control, that does not mean that it is easy for one to take part in, or that it is a perfect birth control. In fact, there are some disadvantages to using this form of birth control. For example, this might be less effective for a woman if her schedule suddenly changes. It also does not protect women from some of the health conditions that other forms of birth control protect people from.