Birth Control Behavioral Methods (cont.)
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After the birth of a child, certain hormones prevent a woman from ovulating and releasing eggs if she is breastfeeding. The length of time hormones are suppressed varies. It depends on how often the woman breastfeeds and the length of time since the baby’s birth. Ovulation usually returns after 6 months despite continuous nursing.
Breastfeeding used for birth control is also called the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM), meaning breastfeeding prevents your body from producing the hormones that cause ovulation (release of an egg) and a return to fertility. Some women feel this is an adequate form of birth control. ACOG states, "Exclusive breastfeeding helps prevent pregnancy for the first 6 months after delivery, but should be relied on only temporarily and when it meets carefully observed criteria of the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM)."
ACOG recommends that for best impact on fertility, women should breastfeed at least every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night. Any feedings the infant is given aside from breastfeeding should not be more than 5%-10% of the total the child consumes. For instance, one formula feeding out of every 10 might increase the chance of fertility returning. If this schedule cannot be followed, consider using an additional form of birth control. When the menstrual period returns after pregnancy, another form of birth control is needed.
Douching is a method of rinsing out the vagina. Women use water or vinegar or solutions purchased at a drug store and spray these solutions into the vagina with a bottle or tubing. It has long been thought that women need to clean their vaginas and reduce odor. Some women douche after their menstrual periods or after sex to avoid getting an STD. Some think douching after sex will prevent pregnancy.
Medically reviewed by Steven Nelson, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/15/2014
Omnia M Samra, MD
Bryan D Cowan, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Lee P Shulman, MD
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