My baby is coming up to 6 weeks old and one of the big things on my mind is s-e-x.
My husband has been out of the country for the past 3 weeks for work, so it's obviously not been at the forefront of my mind during that time. He's back in a few days, so now I'm wondering 'will we or won't we?' or actually 'how long will it be until we do?'
Whilst I can't wait to get back to normal with my husband without the whole 'bump' issue, I'm not at ALL keen to get pregnant again. Contraception is the number one thing on my mind.
Breastfeeding is supposed to be a natural form of birth control, as it prevents the mother from ovulating. The Lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) is considered a legitimate form of birth control as long as three conditions are met:
1. The mother's period has not returned
2. The baby is fully or nearly fully breastfed and is fed often, day and night
3. The baby is less than 6 months oldUnfortunately for me, when I had my first son, my period started again when my son was 6 weeks old. I was breastfeeding exclusively -- I wasn't even expressing nor did my son use a dummy -- and still my period started. My lochia had only just stopped! I found it incredibly unfair...
I remember asking the woman running the baby massage class I was going to then if she thought it was unusual, she said she'd never actually heard of a breastfeeding woman whose period started so soon after birth. Apparently the earliest known time of ovulation is 27 days after the birth with a period coming two weeks later at 6 weeks. Like mine.
Sometimes the first period after giving birth is anovulatory (ie the ovaries don't produce an egg), but sometimes they are. As ovulation happens two weeks before having a period, one could feasibly get pregnant the first time having sex after giving birth, even when breastfeeding. Not only would that be terribly unlucky, it would also be incredibly unhealthy and hard on the woman's body.
As my period started so quickly after the birth of my first child, I'm wary of relying on it being inhibited this time. So it's contraceptives for me.
Actually, if you are having or have just had your first child, I'd definitely not rely on breastfeeding as your only form of contraception as you won't know if you're one of the unlucky ones like me whose period will re-start very quickly.