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Does exclusivley breatfeeding mean I don't need to use any other contraception?

(34 Posts)
smallblessings Wed 08-Jul-09 15:46:41

My DD is 16 weeks. I have not used contraception since she was born except withdrawal as I thought I had read that BF is as effective as using condoms. I am I right? Just wondering because I keep worrying that prehaps I am pregnant again following a non- withdrawl incident. blush

midnightexpress Wed 08-Jul-09 15:47:41

NO! It is not a reliable method of contraception. I know several people who have got pg while exclusively breastfeeding.

LionstarBigPants Wed 08-Jul-09 15:48:26

Fraid not 100% effective. You really should use other forms of contraception, plenty of Mums on here with very small age gaps to prove it.

alicecrail Wed 08-Jul-09 15:49:06

Theoretically yes, but in reality i wouldn't count on it. My best friend is a result of bf as contraception.

belgo Wed 08-Jul-09 15:49:28

No! It is absolutely not a reliable form of contraception, even if you bf day and night.

I also know women who have become pregnant this way.

I think you may need to do a pregnancy test...

AnnieLobeseder Wed 08-Jul-09 15:50:04

Short answer, no. Use something else.

makedoandmend Wed 08-Jul-09 15:50:35

Sex at 16 weeks? jeez - don't tell my dh

My friend thought this - hence two children less than a year apart shock

You've probably got away with it - but make sure you take precautions next time...

puddock Wed 08-Jul-09 15:51:46

Not quite. Some interesting info here:

trixymalixy Wed 08-Jul-09 15:53:47

No, as a friend of a friend found out and now has 2 under 1!!

Babbity Wed 08-Jul-09 15:59:01

Ye, it's a recognised form of contraception, though not the most reliable. If used correctly (google "lactational amenorrhea method") it's actually more effective than condoms are in women who don't breastfeed.

If another pregnancy would be a disaster you may feel that 92% success rate isn't adequate for you; in that case I'd caution against condom alone too, but if you're just spacing your children, it might be fine.

(I am a family planning qualified GP. I used LAM between my children until 6 months)

SusieDerkins Wed 08-Jul-09 16:00:49

No it is not.

I got pregnant with ds2 whilst I was exclusively breastfeeding ds1 (every 2 - 3 hours).

I have an age gap of one year.

Babbity Wed 08-Jul-09 16:01:04

sorry, it's 98% effective according to the Family Planning Association

ShowOfHands Wed 08-Jul-09 16:02:06

I was bfing every 2hrs day and night at the very least, exclusive feeding from birth. My periods came back at 14 weeks. Wasn't having sex with dh then but was surprised to be having periods again. I would never trust it as contraception.

smallblessings Wed 08-Jul-09 16:03:16

Oh. I really hope I'm not. Yes i might like to have another one in 3/4 years but not now. <<<<<<burys head in sand>>>>>

SusieDerkins Wed 08-Jul-09 16:04:04

My periods returned 8 weeks after ds1 was born so that may make a big difference.

Have your periods returned smallblessings?

smallblessings Wed 08-Jul-09 16:04:31

Babbity that is what I thought i had read.

smallblessings Wed 08-Jul-09 16:05:10

susie No they have not returned.

midnightexpress Wed 08-Jul-09 16:05:25

If you're having periods then you're probably ovulating, so you can get pg. And even if you're not having periods, you could be about to be having periods (iyswim). I certainly wouldn't trust it as a method of contraception.

smallblessings Wed 08-Jul-09 16:10:42

Babbity Thanks for the link. I feel happier now. smile I might do a test when I can get to the shop just for reassurance.

Babbity Wed 08-Jul-09 16:12:44

I think the thing is you will always have people who conceive on virtually any form of contraception - sometimes it's because they weren't following the rules, sometimes it's just bad luck. There have for example been a handful of pregnancies worldwide on Implanon (considered the most effective form of contraception) and thousands per year in the UK on the pill, and thouands more conceived when couples are using condoms - but that doesn't stop any one of these being considered adequate form of contraception. What is an acceptable failure rate for one woman/ couple is completely unacceptable for another. And of course one's perception of risk is altered if (say) you know someone who's conceived on LAM/ condoms/ the pill, the same way as your perception of the risk of smoking might be altered if you grandpa moked 40 a day and died in his sleep aged 110 with not a day's illness.

So yes, LAM is abolutely a recognised form of contraception, so say the WHO, FPA, Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare of the RCOG in the UK, but each woman should take time to appreciate that there is no foolproof form of contraception, and if they choose a less reliable method like condoms/ diaphragm or LAM, they should be counselled that unplanned pregnancy would be less likely with something else.

midnightexpress Wed 08-Jul-09 16:16:07

Babbity, you're right about reliability of other methods, but I am intrigued - you never know when your periods are going to return, so how can it possibly be reliable? You could have ovulated (ie for the first time since giving birth) without realising, surely. Wouldn't you need to be using temperature checks etc as well in order for it to be effective?

Babbity Wed 08-Jul-09 16:22:22

No, the reason it works is because in the whole of the six months there's only a 2 week "danger period" if you're unlucky enough to get your period back before 6 months. Let's say you're unlucky and despite it being uncommon (though not unheard of) you ovulate prior to six months: you'd have to be having sex around ovulation - about a 3-4 day window. Even if you DO have sex then only about 15-20% of intercourse around ovulation causes a pregnancy, and of those an even smaller number will implant. So you're talking about 15-20% of a number which is very small in the first place IYSWIM - and that's assuming you are actually having sex around those danger days. Then 2 weeks later your period arrive and you know you can no longer rely on being anovulatory.

SoupDragon Wed 08-Jul-09 16:27:24

"you never know when your periods are going to return" Thus you never know when you ovulated or are about to ovulate. Personally I think you would have to be barking to rely on it as a contraceptive method unless you want a small age gap.

My periods returned with no warning after 8 weeks with all 3 pregnancies despite exclusively breastfeeding each time.

Babbity Wed 08-Jul-09 16:33:21

But you see, soupdragon, for you it would be barking, but for someone else it would be the perfect contraceptive. They don't have do do anything, they don't have to take anything, all they have to do is accept the 2% failure rates, and remember to switch to something ele at 6 months or when they get their first period. Even though you never know when you're going to ovulate it's still 98% effective when the rules are followed.

SusieDerkins Wed 08-Jul-09 17:01:51

I was the same Soupy.

I can still remember that frankly terrifying dawning realistion that I was pregnant with ds2 as a 4 month old ds1 lay fast asleep in bed beside me.

I adore my children but a 52 week age gap is really really hard - physically and mentally.

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