What Are The Chances Of Getting Pregnant While Breastfeeding?

While it’s not a ‘sure thing’, there are definitely possibilities that you can get pregnant while breastfeeding. If prevention is important to you, then the best method of contraception is some kind of barrier method, such as using condoms. While this article concerns how to try to get pregnant during breastfeeding, it is also a useful way to learn how not to.

Following the birth of a baby, the resumption of a regular menstrual cycle will be different for each woman. If breastfeeding, the return of periods will be delayed, particularly if she is nursing exclusively and not supplementing her baby’s feeds with formula or solids. Having said that however, some women will get their periods even while breastfeeding, yet others won’t menstruate again until their children are past their first birthday.

If you are hoping to conceive and you are not menstruating, the issue could be that you are still breastfeeding and as a result, you may need to consider either delaying trying for the next baby, or weaning the one you’re currently nursing.

When you are breastfeeding, your body’s production of the hormone prolactin is higher. Prolactin is a hormone that suppresses ovulation and as such, reduces your probability of pregnancy while breastfeeding to around 1 to 2 percent. During the first year, the percentage increases, and after about six months, the chance of conception stands at about 6 per cent.

Being aware of your menstrual cycle will help you to understand what’s happening in your body, and when you are likely to conceive. If you are menstruating then you can calculate ovulation by counting the days from the first day of bleeding each month. Depending on your cycle, ovulation should occur between the 13th and 15th day. You should keep in mind, however, that if you continue to breastfeed, your levels of prolactin will remain elevated and your cycle will not be as accurate as you may think.

By introducing more solid foods to your baby, his breast milk requirements will reduce and since breastfeeding naturally runs on a supply-and-demand system, your prolactin levels will fluctuate accordingly. You can also extend the intervals between day feeds and supplement with formula and/or foods with the same end in mind.

Remember, if you are aiming not to fall pregnant while breastfeeding, you cannot rely on your lactation as a method of contraception. Indeed, because ovulation occurs prior to menstruation, you could fall pregnant even before you have your first period since the last baby was born.