Is it true that I can't get pregnant while breastfeeding?
Failure to use birth control methods leads to the possibility of pregnancy, even during breastfeeding. It is, however, true that in this phase this possibility is reduced, but it is not eliminated.
It is the belief that you cannot get pregnant if you are breastfeeding and, therefore, that you can have sexual intercourse without the risk of pregnancy! The probability of getting pregnant during breastfeeding depends on the fact that in this period there are hormonal changes including an increase in prolactin (necessary for milk production) which reduces the resumption of a normal ovulatory cycle by lowering, without excluding, the possibility of a pregnancy. Prolactin levels, at the time of birth, remain essentially high in some conditions, namely: if the baby feeds only with mother's milk, if feedings are regular and frequent, if the day interval (from 6.00 to 22.00) does not exceed 4 hours and if the interval at night (from 22.00 to 6.00) does not exceed 6 hours. In different situations there is a reduction in the concentration of prolactin and the risk of pregnancy increases. Breastfeeding is therefore not a safe form of contraception.
Those who do not wish to have a new pregnancy immediately should choose, by asking the doctor or gynecologist, an effective contraceptive, compatible with continuing breastfeeding. Anyone who does not adopt any form of contraception should know that ovulation can occur suddenly, without any usual signs or symptoms.
1. Ministry of Health. Contraception for the nursing woman
2. Available on the website: EpiCentro (ISS)