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Breastfeeding can be used as a method of birth control, called the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). But three conditions must be met to ensure its effectiveness:
After 6 months, even if you are breastfeeding exclusively and your period has not returned, you must use an additional form of birth control if you do not want to get pregnant. You can get pregnant before your first period. This is because you ovulate, then have your period.
At any point during breastfeeding, use a reliable method of birth control if you do not want to get pregnant. Many methods are safe to use while you are breastfeeding, although some are more reliable than others. Options include:
Fertility awareness is not recommended for birth control during breastfeeding. This method is less reliable and harder to manage than other forms of birth control, especially since ovulation may not be regular while you are breastfeeding.
Some birth control methods can be used right after you give birth. Others are safer if you wait. Talk to your healthcare provider about which methods you can use right after you give birth. You may also want to talk about how long to wait before starting some birth control options while breastfeeding.
For more information, see the topic Birth Control.
Adaptation Date: 3/1/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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