Does Nursing Prevent Me from Getting Pregnant?

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Guest blogger: Wendy Wright, is the founder and lactation consultant of the 16 Minute Club.


Alright, nursing mamas. Are you ready for a little quiz? True or False: Nursing prevents me from getting pregnant.

Despite popular belief, this statement is false. While many women are naturally less fertile during their time of nursing, other women are surprised to find they are more fertile postpartum, despite breastfeeding full time. If now is not the time for another baby, then rest assured that there are many birth control options that are safe for nursing mamas.

It is wise to wait at least six weeks before starting hormonal birth control options. You want your milk supply to be established before messing with your hormones. Also, it is advised that you wait to have intercourse until your OB check up at 6-8 weeks postpartum. Your doctor can help you pick the right birth control option while nursing.

Birth Control Pills

The only birth control safe for breastfeeding are the ones with progesterone. Estrogen birth control can decrease milk supply. The progesterone pills have less hormones, which means that your milk will not be affected. However, it is also slightly less effective than the normal birth control pill, but only by a few percentages.

Natural Family Planning

Natural family planning is the charting of your cycle and fertility days to choose when and when not to have more children. It is very effective once you understand how to use the system and what to look for. There are several classes and resources that can help you learn more about this natural and safe way of birth control.

Other Birth Controls

There are several other birth control options to consider to, such as the diaphragm, sponge, condom, and spermicide. All of these are used each time before intercourse, so they are not always the most convenient. However, all of them are 100% safe for mothers and nursing babies.

The vaginal ring could be a possible solution; however, types like the NuvaRing give off estrogen and progesterone, which can hurt your milk supply. For the best success during breastfeeding, hold off on any type of contraceptive that contains estrogen until your baby is at least six months old and breastfeeding is well established.

Finally, a IUD only gives off progesterone, which makes it a good choice for nursing moms. A doctor does need to insert it into the uterus. It will keep you protected from pregnancy for up to five years; therefore, if you choose to have a baby sooner, you will need your doctor to remove it.

There are many different forms of birth control, and all will work differently with different women. Even though the progesterone pills and IUD are safe for nursing, many moms still find their supply decreased. If you suspect issues with your milk supply, talk to your doctor about it for alternatives.

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