Lactational Amenorrhea Method

Breastfeeding can be used as a contraceptive method when a woman engages in continuous breastfeeding after giving birth. In order for LAM to be effective, a woman must solely breastfeed her baby –- meaning that the baby does not drink anything besides breast milk. It works because the hormone required to stimulate milk production prevents the release of the hormone that triggers ovulation.

Advantages of LAM:

Breastfeeding is a safe and effective birth control method. This method:

  • Has no side effects

  • Is convenient and free

  • Does not affect a woman's natural hormone balance

  • Requires no prescription or medical supervision

  • Is immediately effective

  • Reduces bleeding after delivery

  • Allows for greater sexual spontaneity as nothing needs to be put in place before intercourse (unlike a barrier method such as a condom - male or female, spermicide, sponge, cervical cap, or diaphragm)

Breastfeeding also offers many health advantages for a baby, including:

  • Increased body contact which leads to enhanced comfort for the infant and bonding between mother and child

  • Protection against the development of allergies and may protect against the development of asthma

  • Allows for the passage of some of the mother's antibodies which can protect the baby from certain infections

  • Providing the baby with the best nutrition available

Disadvantages of Breastfeeding:

  • No protection against sexually transmitted infections

  • Can only be relied on for six months after delivery

  • May lessen vaginal lubrication

  • Exclusive breastfeeding may be difficult to accomplish

  • Some report that breastfeeding may make the breast seem less sexual

Effectiveness of LAM:

Breastfeeding is up to 98% effective as a natural contraceptive for up to six months after childbirth if your period has not returned.

Typical use: 95% effective

Perfect use: 98% effective

This means that of every 100 women who use LAM, 5 will become pregnant within the first 6 months (with typical use) and less than 2 will become pregnant with perfect use.

Effectiveness rates only apply to women who are exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months postpartum.

In order to rely solely on LAM/breastfeeding as birth control, a woman should:

Only rely on this method for six months after delivery

Not substitute other foods for a breast milk meal

Feed her baby at least every four hours during the day and every six hours at night

Has not had a period since she delivered her baby

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