Can I Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?

As a breastfeeding mother, you may think you have a free pass when it comes to birth control. Many couples mistakenly presume that they won’t be able to conceive while the mom is still breastfeeding. In reality, however, plenty of breastfeeding mamas have fallen pregnant. There is no way of knowing whether you’ll be one of them, so it’s better to play safe if you don’t want to get pregnant. It seems unfair, doesn’t it? After carrying a baby for nine months, giving birth to it, feeding it and living up to your elbows in dirty diapers, you’d think mother nature would, at least, give you a few months break from worrying about getting pregnant while breastfeeding.

Whilst it’s true that many mamas find their cycles don’t return until they’ve stopped breastfeeding, there is no guarantee. If you want to avoid an unplanned pregnancy, you’ll need to use birth control when you’re breastfeeding. Some mamas find that their periods don’t return until after their child’s first birthday, but for other women, it can be just a couple of months after the birth when their cycle returns.

It’s not wise to wait until your periods start again before turning to birth control, because ovulation can occur first. Some women have already ovulated by the time they get their first period. If this happened, you could already be pregnant even before getting your first period.

Every woman is different and there is no fixed schedule to determine when your periods will return. For some women, their cycle doesn’t return until their baby is feeding less frequently, but for others, their periods return when their baby is just a couple of months old and still attached to the boob for most of the day.

How to avoid getting pregnant while breastfeeding

If you know now is not the time to add a younger sibling to your family, you’ll need to decide on a method of contraception to use. This is something usually discussed by your healthcare provider at your postpartum checkup. If it wasn’t discussed at yours or if you’d like some more advice, get in touch with your healthcare provider today. There may be some forms of contraception that are not advised for use during pregnancy. For example, estrogen can interfere with breast milk production, so your doctor may advise you to avoid the combination pill.

Trying to get pregnant while breastfeeding

If you are hoping to conceive and would like advice on how to achieve this while breastfeeding, ask your healthcare provider for advice. You may have to wait until your baby is feeding less frequently or sleeping for longer stretches until you can become pregnant, but remember, this is not always the case.

Have you spoken to your healthcare provider about contraceptive options?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.