Don’t forget contraception while breastfeeding to avoid getting pregnant again

It is common wisdom that breastfeeding your newborn gives you protection from getting pregnant again for a few months. Hence one may not think too much about contraception while breastfeeding your baby in the first 3-4 months. In India, often doctor fail to counsel new mothers about contraception after the birth of the baby. But this can land you into big trouble and wreck your family planning!

So, how to make sure this does not happen to you? Find below facts and advice to help you:

Breastfeeding provides incomplete and very conditional protection against getting pregnant:

  1. The protection provided is only 98% ( as compared to .01% of pills or copper T);
  2. For this 98% protection , you have to feed your newborn breast milk exclusively and frequently and keep the gap between feeds less than four hours in daytime and less than six in the night
  3. Pumping also decreases the effectiveness of this protection
  4. If your baby got top feed in the hospital, commonly in case of caesarian deliveries, or baby in nursery/NICU, your protection is already compromised

You may get pregnant before your periods return after child birth

  1. Normally, periods may return anywhere from 5-6 weeks to 20 weeks after delivery, but this varies from woman to woman
  2. There are no reliable ‘pregnant while breastfeeding symptoms‘ that all women pick up, even though feeling pregnant, reduced breast milk etc. are reported symptoms commonly

If you do not want to get pregnant while breastfeeding, ask your doctor for contraception at the time of discharge

  1. While regular birth control pills are not good for breastfeeding women, you can ask for mini pills
  2. You can also go for copper T or some other Intra Uterine Contraceptive Device or even permanent sterilization
  3. Your partner can use condoms but their failure rates are higher than other methods

Check with Urine-Kit If

  • You have not had periods even after 10 weeks after delivery, especially if not you are not exclusively breastfeeding
  • Timing matters, because there are legal constraints in India on what can be done if you do get accidentally pregnant and knowing earlier is better