Using the symptothermal method as contraceptive after childbirth
When, fertility is regained after childbirth, is different from woman to woman. Above all, it depends on breastfeeding and how often it is done.
Prolactin is responsible for the production of breast milk, and plays a crucial role in the complex hormonal processes that control fertility. The prolactin levels are already very high during pregnancy. If a woman solely breastfeeds her child, the prolactin levels will stay high and only will decrease slowly, from week to week. If the child is breastfed frequently, the prolactin levels will decrease slower and therefore render the woman infertile for longer. But if the mother decides to only breastfeed for a short period of time, the prolactin level will drop rapidly and the woman could potentially get pregnant again from the fourth week onwards.
If the child is exclusively breastfed - the child will only drink as much as it needs, sometimes it will try different foods, but they won’t substitute breastfeeding- there is less than a 1% chance to get pregnant within the 10 weeks following pregnancy. Execption: If it comes to bleeding from the 8th week (56th day of the cycle) onwards, the woman is able to conceive again.
If the child is exclusively breastfed from the 11th week and until the first drop in temperature occurs, fertile and infertile days can be determined by observing the mucus and the cervix, if necessary.
If the mother does not breastfeed or only from time to time, she can ovulate from the fourth week onwards. This is why, fertile days can be determined from the beginning by checking the mucus and the cervix, if necessary.
After giving birth, the signs that indicate fertility or infertility take longer to become apparent. Body temperature suffers some up and downs, and won’t settle until the first ovulation. The cervical mucus also takes a while to come back (generally in the 7th or 8th week after childbirth) and when it does it will be in irregular patterns. Therefore it is necessary to follow some rules different from the ones used before childbirth as now the cervix should be checked as well.
LAM – Lactational Amenorrhoea Method
LAM is a method that has been subject of scientific research, for the past couple of years, and is based on the following
- If a baby is younger than 6 months, exclusively breastfed and there hasn’t been any bleeding, the woman is infertile.
- Any bleeding occurring in the first 8 weeks (or 56 first days) is not taken into account.
- Exclusive breastfeeding means, that the baby solely feeds on breast milk and that, at least 6 times a day. The baby must be fed at least every 6 hours. The baby cannot have a dummy or a baby bottle.