What is the lactation amenorrhea method (LAM)?
Lactation amenorrhea method (LAM) is a way for breastfeeding to temporarily help prevent pregnancy. It must be used correctly to work. Lactation means your body is making breastmilk and amenorrhea means you aren’t having a monthly period. Breastfeeding hormones may stop your body from releasing eggs. You can’t get pregnant if you don’t release an egg.
How well does LAM work?
- You can get pregnant as early as one month after having a baby, when not using LAM or another method of birth control.
- If no method of birth control is used, there’s about an 85% chance of getting pregnant after 1 year of having sex.
- With perfect use (you follow the exact directions all the time) LAM is 98% effective against pregnancy for the first 6 months after giving birth.
- Think about getting emergency contraception to help prevent pregnancy if you’ve not followed LAM correctly and you’ve had unprotected sex in the last 5 days.
- LAM doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV.
- Use a condom
every time you have sex (anal, oral, vaginal) to lower your risk of STIs and HIV.
When can I use LAM as birth control?
only works if your:
- baby is under 6 months old
- baby is fully breastfed (baby gets no other liquid or food, not even water) or nearly-fully breastfed (baby gets vitamins, water, or other fluids or nutrients once in a while and they do not disrupt the frequency of feedings)
- period has not returned. This means you have not had vaginal bleeding for 2 or more days in a row (not counting bleeding during the first 2 months after giving birth)
LAM does not work if you don’t have all 3 things above. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if LAM is right for you.
What are the benefits of LAM?
- It can work for up to 6 months after birth.
- It is effective right away.
- There are no added hormones that can affect your breastmilk.
- There is no cost and no birth control supplies are needed.
- Breastfeeding has many other health benefits for you and your baby.
What are the disadvantages of LAM?
- It may be difficult for some to fully or nearly-fully breastfeed.
- Fertility can return quickly if breastfeeding is reduced.
- It’s only effective for up to 6 months after you have your baby.
Did You Know?
- You have the right to make the decision to have sex or not.
- You can plan ahead and talk to your partner(s) about how to lower your risk of pregnancy, STIs, and HIV.
- You can consider getting regular testing for STIs and HIV. Talk to your healthcare provider.
- Many clinics offer low or no cost birth control.
For More Information
- Health Link – Health Advice 24/7: 811