Who has not heard that the woman who has just won a baby will not be fertile for a long time if she is breastfeeding mainly? Well, scientifically speaking and in practice, it is not quite like that.
Many women become pregnant a few weeks after delivery or even in the ward , so we know families with children who are almost the same age. Therefore, it is possible to have a pregnancy after childbirth, even if the menstrual cycle has not yet returned.
Risk of Pregnancy After Childbirth
The birth of a child has a great impact on the body , especially during the period of pregnancy. Most health professionals recommend not to become pregnant immediately after giving birth, as the woman’s health has not yet recovered from the previous gestational phase.
Breastfeeding and Fertility
There are many factors that come into play when we talk about pregnancy after childbirth. The most important factor is whether the woman is breastfeeding the newborn. Although it is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding, it itself is about 98% effective as a form of birth control. But, it is important to remember that its effectiveness only occurs if:
- The baby is less than six months old;
- The menstrual period has not yet returned;
- The breastfeeding is exclusive;
- Breastfeeding is on demand;
- Total breastfeeding lasts an average of 60 minutes daily.
Breastfeeding alters the way the luteinizing hormone is secreted, and helps prevent ovulation from occurring and to get pregnant you need to ovulate. The time it takes for fertility to return may vary between women, it will depend on the baby’s breastfeeding pattern and how the body reacts to lactation hormones as well.
What are the Chances of Pregnancy After Childbirth?
Although health professionals recommend not having sex before the withdrawal period ends, this can sometimes happen, and if the woman does not use any form of contraception , a postpartum pregnancy can occur.
In addition, when women breastfeed, it delays the start of ovulation, but only in some cases, therefore, breastfeeding is not a 100% effective method of birth control.
The vast majority of mothers experience prolonged bleeding after childbirth, which lasts an average of 3 to 8 weeks, and the blood is usually bright red.
However, the bleeding becomes clearer over time, indicating that the uterus is completely healed. The chances of ovulation during the first 6 weeks after delivery are generally very low, but they are not impossible.
Shortly after the postpartum haemorrhage ceases and if the mother is not exclusively breastfeeding , she can resume ovulation at around 10 weeks after delivery.
About 80% of women who do not breastfeed have their cycles normalized by that time, although for most women it may take a few months for their bodies and hormones to return to normal.
On average, it takes about 14 months for the menstrual period to return , however, for some women this occurs as early as the first month, but it is likely that she is not really ovulating.
Risks of Pregnancy After Childbirth
Getting pregnant right after having a baby can cause problems for both the mother and the baby . There has been very limited research on this subject, however, getting pregnant between 12 months after delivery can increase the risk of:
- Placental abruption
- Increased risk of autism in babies conceived after delivery;
- The placenta can be attached to the lower part of the uterine wall, which can cover all or part of the cervix, causing placenta previa. Especially in women who had a first cesarean delivery.
According to studies carried out for risks associated with pregnancy after childbirth, the incidence of uterine rupture in women who attempted vaginal delivery after cesarean section less than eighteen months after the first delivery, increased significantly.
There are some risks that are associated with pregnancy before or within eighteen months after delivery, and include:
- Premature birth
- Low weight at birth
- Small size for gestational age
In addition, some experts clearly believe that pregnancies in a short period of time generally negatively affect the mother , as they do not give the woman a chance to relax, in addition to relieving the physical stress of the previous pregnancy before entering another.
For example, breastfeeding as well as pregnancy , depletes all reserves of essential nutrients, such as folic acid and iron in the body, to serve the mother and baby.
The genital tract can also experience inflammation during pregnancy after childbirth. It is necessary to give time to the body and these organs, so that they can reestablish themselves before another pregnancy.
Of course, many women have had successful pregnancies after a postpartum pregnancy. It is important to weigh the pros and cons, so it is suggested that a contraceptive method be used soon after the baby is born.
Contraceptive Method To Prevent Pregnancy After Childbirth
If you plan to have another child in the next year or so, you may want to consider using a short-acting contraceptive, which includes:
- Combined oral contraceptive pill – this pill contains progesterone and estrogen and works mainly by stopping or preventing ovulation. It is safe, with rare side effects, pain ceases, as well as heavy flows. However, there are some disadvantages with this method, some women can develop significant blood clots. For breastfeeding mothers , it is important to talk to the doctor to see what type of pill can be used during breastfeeding.
- Barrier methods – These are male and female condoms, diaphragms and spermicides. They prevent sperm from entering the uterus, are safe and have no side effects. They also do not affect fertility, however, the only problem with these methods is that they are not as reliable compared to others.
- Natural method (Tabelinha and Billings) – where the cycles are determined through graphs and observation of the body’s signs (mucus, etc.) respectively, and only maintain sexual relations outside the fertile period. The primary condition for using this method is the regularity of menstrual cycles.
- Injectable contraceptive – hormone that is released at a very low rate in the body. It is an effective method that works by inhibiting ovulation, works in the same way as the pill, and should be injected every 8 to 12 weeks. Although it is very efficient, it can sometimes cause irregular periods and some side effects.
- Contraceptive implant – is a small device that is placed on the skin. It releases hormone slowly into the body. It works in the same way as the previous method and is very effective.
- IUD – A very reliable option to prevent pregnancy. Typically, one in 100 people will become pregnant using this method. It is possible to get pregnant right after removing the device.
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.