Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) is a certain birth control method that relies on natural infertility after labour when a fully breastfeeding mother is amenorrheic. This contraceptive method is based on physiological condition when breastfeeding suppresses ovulation and hence, reduces fertility. A woman can stay infertile for as much as six months postpartum when she is fully breastfeeding and has had no menses since childbirth.
LAM has a lot of advantages compared to other methods of birth control . First of all, studies have shown that this contraceptive method has high efficiency in birth control being from 98 to 99% effective. This is a safe, easy to use mean of contraception that starts straight after delivery of the child. Even more, no chemicals or barrier devices need to be used helping both partners to relax during sexual intercourse.
In addition to family planning properties, LAM also provides healthy nutrition of the baby, increases its immunity and prevents diseases. Nursing helps to build a healthy and stable relationship between a mother and an infant, making the family stronger and healthier. Finally, this birth control method has no side effects and possible risks.
Requirements for Lactational Amenorrhea Method
Despite all advantages of this contraceptive method , not all mothers can use LAM for family planning, since there are certain requirements they need to fulfill. Breastfeeding must be the only source of nutrition for a newborn baby. This means that a woman must be fully breastfeeding. No supplements should be added to infant’s nutrition. Even more, a mother may not use pumping since this reduces the efficiency of this birth control method.
Another requirement that must be fulfilled for LAM to be effective is that a mother must be amenorrheic, meaning that she has not had menstruation since labour. Other sources claim that a breastfeeding mother must not have had menses after 56 days after childbirth. As there could be other types of vaginal bleeding due to labour, this can be disregarded if it happens earlier than 56 days after childbirth.
LAM is effective for 6 months post-partum. Therefore, an infant should be younger than six months of age in order for this family planning method to be efficient. Even if a woman continues breastfeeding and stays amenorrheic longer than six months after childbirth, she should use additional means of contraception in order to avoid possible pregnancy.
When breastfeeding is concerned there are several more things a mother should know to use LAM efficiently. A mother should start nursing the baby as soon as possible after labour. There cannot be any schedule. The woman should breastfeed often, depending on the baby’s request. For this method of birth control to be effective, there cannot be long breaks between nursing, and a mother should do it both day and night. Some sources advise the intervals not to be longer than four hours in the daytime and six hours at night. No bottles, pumps or supplements should be used, since this reduces the efficiency of LAM. And finally, which is sometimes hard to do and your doctor’s consultation may be needed, breastfeeding must not be interrupted due to the illness of a mother of the baby.
Disadvantages of lactational amenorrhea method
Unfortunately there are some disadvantages and limitations of this method of birth control. It works only for a certain limited amount of time, six months post-partum. LAM cannot be used by mothers who cannot or do not want to breastfeed. Some women, especially those who work, may find it hard to manage regular full breastfeeding. And finally, LAM does not protect against sexually transmitted disease , including HIV, therefore, women, who have multiple partners, must use condoms .
Every woman has a right to choose the most optimal method for family planning. Doctors and health care specialists can help them with information and detailed instructions how to use lactational amenorrhea method effectively to provide temporary child spacing. Also, health care specialists can help a woman to find another optimal method of birth control before the effect of LAM expires. Do not hesitate to consult your doctor about all possible family planning methods after childbirth.