Birth Control Behavioral Methods (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Breastfeeding and Birth Control
Immediately after childbirth the release of certain hormones from a woman’s pituitary gland is inhibited. As these hormones are required for ovulation to occur, pregnancy becomes much less likely. The length of the period of hormonal suppression varies widely. Consistent suppression of ovulation depends upon how often the woman breastfeeds and the length of time since her delivery. Despite continuous nursing, ovulation usually returns within 6 months of delivery.
Breastfeeding used for birth control is also called the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). This method is based on the principle that breastfeeding prevents your body from producing the hormones required for ovulation and thus, a return to fertility. Some women feel this is a satisfactory 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 the best impact on fertility, women should breast feed 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 its total consumption. For instance, one formula feeding out of every 10 might increase the chance of failure of LAM failure. If this schedule cannot be followed consistently, then an additional form of birth control should be considered. When the menstrual period returns following delivery, another form of birth control should be employed.
Douching Does not Prevent Pregnancy
Douching is a term which refers to rinsing of the vagina. Many women use water, vinegar, or commercially available products purchased at a pharmacy. These are then introduced into the vagina with a squeeze bottle or tubing. It has long been thought that women needed to clean their vaginas, in part because of odor. Some women douche after their menstrual periods or after sex to avoid getting an STD. Some actually think douching after sex will prevent pregnancy.
Medically reviewed by Wayne Blocker, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/7/2016
Omnia M Samra, MD
Bryan D Cowan, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Lee P Shulman, MD
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Have you used behavioral methods of birth control? What was the method you used, and was it effective? Please describe your experience.