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March 29, 2021

Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?

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Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?

You’ve read somewhere that breastfeeding offers some protection against ovulation. But is that true? Can you get pregnant while breastfeeding?

As with everything else in life, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. There are conditions. Broadly speaking, however, breastfeeding can be considered a form of birth control.

This is because the hormones involved in milk production can block ovulation. Breastfeeding as birth control is also known as the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM).

Provided you meet all conditions, LAM may be up to 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. To determine whether you safely meet the conditions of LAM, you must be able to answer  NO to all the following questions:

  1. Have you had a period yet? (This means any bleeding on any 2 consecutive days within 2 months after birth).
  2. Are you supplementing your baby’s feeding with formula? (In other words, you are no longer exclusively breastfeeding?)
  3. Is your infant older than 6 months of age?

If you answer “yes” to any of the above questions, breastfeeding as birth control is likely not effective for you anymore. You should therefore use another form of birth control if you want to avoid getting pregnant.

However, even if you are able to answer NO to all the questions, LAM is 98% effective. Not 100% effective. So the answer to whether you can get pregnant while breastfeeding is yes. It is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding—even within six months after giving birth! You will therefore be best advised to have a backup contraceptive.

Getting pregnant right after giving birth to another baby can be physically and emotionally stressful for a new mom. Many doctors recommend waiting at least 12 to 18 months before getting pregnant again.

If you want to resume your sex life once you are fully healed, do so in a safe way with birth control.

pregnant while breastfeeding

Is Birth Control Safe While Breastfeeding?

According to Pandia Health, hormonal birth control is safe to take while you are breastfeeding. Hormonal birth control does not harm a breastfeeding baby. However, there are a few important caveats:

  • Some types of birth control—including the estrogen-containing birth control patch, ring, and pill—may reduce your milk supply. If you’re concerned about your milk supply, talk to your doctor.
  • A preferred and safe birth control option for new moms who are breastfeeding are progestin-only contraceptives, such as the birth control implant, shot, IUD with hormone, and Progestin Only Pills (POPs). These won’t affect your milk supply.
  • Due to an increased risk of blood clots, you should NOT use estrogen-containing birth control within six weeks of giving birth. (Progestin-only contraceptives, non-hormonal options like copper IUDs or condoms are great alternatives).

Breastfeeding While Pregnant

You’re pregnant again, and you’re still breastfeeding. Does breastfeeding interfere with your pregnancy?

Breastfeeding while pregnant is generally considered safe if you are eating enough for you, your unborn baby, and your milk supply. However, some moms experience increased cramps due to hormonal changes associated with breastfeeding. In very rare instances, pre-term labor may occur. If you are at all concerned, talk to your doctor.


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