What if we want another pregnancy now while breastfeeding is ongoing? Is it possible or should I stop breastfeeding?
We now know well the contraceptive values of breastfeeding. Although for some women this aspect of breastfeeding is an interesting addition, it is not the case for all women. Indeed, what if we want another pregnancy now while breastfeeding is ongoing? Is it possible or should I stop breastfeeding?
As we saw in the article "Can I rely on breastfeeding as contraception?", breastfeeding in itself is not a method of contraception. Many women will be able to conceive while breastfeeding. There are also several women who breastfeed while being pregnant and even who breastfeed in tandem (2 children of different ages at the same time). However, there must be prerequisites.
First, if a woman meets the criteria for LAM, she only has about a 1% chance of becoming pregnant. If she does not meet the criteria, because the breastfeeding is not complete, the baby is older than 6 months or sleeps, then it isovulation may resume. However, if there is no menstruation, it is because ovulation has not yet resumed. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict when ovulation will resume. We only know that statistically it is more likely to resume over time and as breastfeeding decreases.
Furthermore, it must also be taken into account that it is quite possible that there is a return of ovulation, but that it is impossible to conceive, because the luteal phase1 is too short. To find out, you have to do the test symptothermal (make your temperature curves and note the symptoms of the cycle) or simply take your temperature. However, it should be noted that the temperature alone is much less precise and can therefore lead to misinterpretations.
Finally, we find that even breastfeeding women who have ovulatory cycles with an adequate luteal phase have lower pregnancy rates than those who do not breastfeed. There is therefore a slight decline in fertility during breastfeeding. Among other things, we have noticed that the mucus is often less fertile in appearance during breastfeeding, which could be part of the explanation.
Breastfeeding or getting pregnant?
Now, having this information at hand, what should we do if we want to conceive a child while we are breastfeeding? This decision is completely personal and largely depends on our values and ourmotives. But yes, it is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding.
On the one hand, we have to think about the child who is currently being breastfed. We know that breastfeeding has considerable benefits for him and that these benefits will have a positive impact throughout his life. We also know that natural weaning is what is best suited for the child. In addition, it is recommended to wait 18 months between two pregnancies to allow the mother's body to replenish its reserves optimally. It is also easier for the eldest to adapt to the arrival of a new member of the family when he is older. Finally, there is no guarantee that stopping breastfeeding will lead to pregnancy more quickly.
On the other hand, there can be all sorts of conditions that make having children close together the best solution. For some, breastfeeding does not have the same importance and the desire to wean is already there. Stopping breastfeeding when the baby is 3 months old or 15 months old is also very different. We must therefore weigh the pros and cons as a couple and make the decision that seems best in everyone's interest.
It is also possible to consider a gradual weaning. For example, you can cut one drink every three weeks. Sometimes just cutting off a feed can be enough to trigger ovulation. This progressive way of doing things allows the breastfed child to experience a weaning that is smoother and more respectful of his own rhythm.
Conceiving a child sometimes requirespatience, because fertility is unfortunately not subject to our simple will. When breastfeeding, it is usually just a matter of patience for fertility to return. And for some couples, even after stopping breastfeeding, the time to conceive will be long. It is therefore not always breastfeeding that interferes with conception. There are so many variables that go into fertility that sometimes life just has to be trusted!
For more information, do not hesitate to contact Serena.
1: The luteal phase is the phase following ovulation and is characterized by the secretion of the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum is necessary to nourish the fertilized egg until it implants in the uterine wall.