While you’re a breastfeeding mom, the first 6 months period of breastfeeding is natural birth control. As your body produces milk, side by side, the body also produces a hormone called prolactin, which ceases the production of ovulatory hormones. Although there is little chance but there is always a possibility that you can get pregnant again 6 – 8 weeks after you’ve given birth. So, the time period is not very reliable for birth control.
While you’re breastfeeding, you won’t have any periods. That means you won’t have to face monthly cramps or periods. It can you months for you to get your next period. It’s true that you may not get your period, but it is not the same as ovulation. You can still ovulate during pregnancy, leaving room for the possibility of being pregnant again.
Prolactin is a hormone responsible for the production of milk and the suppression of the gonadotropin hormone. Now gonadotropin is a hormone responsible for stimulating ovaries for the production of estrogen and progesterone. Gonadotropins are follicle-stimulation hormones that initiate the entire ovulation process.
If your body produces enough prolactin, you are less likely to ovulate, and the ovulation process may resume 6 months after childbirth. This situation can occur with or without bleeding.
What are the Potential Signs of Ovulation while Breastfeeding?
Reappearance of your Periods
The reappearance of your periods is a clear sign that you have started your menstrual cycle again, even though you’re breastfeeding. The return of your periods is a clear indication that an egg has been released and you ovulated and hence bled. If you get the first period but have no intention of getting pregnant so soon, you should start taking measures for birth control.
You can also start planning another pregnancy, but that is not suggested as a pregnancy soon after giving birth holds health risks.
Changes in Cervical Mucus:
Since pregnancy after ovulation is more than possible, changes would occur in your cervical mucus. It would go from sticky and thick to light and watery, and you might feel like your underwear is getting wet. Before you start ovulating or ovulating, the cervical mucus is thick and sticky, which is to hold in any sperm received to fertilize the egg. However, it becomes thin and watery when the ovulation period is over.
Rise in Basal Body Temperature:
Right after the ovulation period, the body temperature increases slightly which indicates that an egg has been released. You can feel slightly feverish, and this could be a sign of ovulation while you’re breastfeeding. The change in body temperature is not much, just slight, as your uterus is back to work. This may not be a clear indication but a direction to start tracking your menstrual cycle again.
Having abdominal cramps is yet another indication that you have started ovulating again. It’s the same as when you had your periods regularly and the pre-menstrual cramps started or even the ones you felt during your periods. While some people can experience severe crams that can feel like your uterus is being ripped, others just have mild cramps. Overall, once the cramps are over, this indicates that an egg has been released, and you should keep track of your monthly cycle again.
An indication that your fertility is back even though you’re breastfeeding is the boost in libido. There would be a surge in estrogen, and your body would have an increased desire for sexual intercourse. The return of your sex drive directs the return of your ovulation as well. Your breastfeeding is not your main birth control, so even after the traumatizing experience of childbirth, you would doubt the return of your sex drive so soon. But it is more than possible, and once the sex drive is back, note that you’re ovulating again.
During your regular menstrual cycle, you would’ve felt that your breasts got tender and hurtful during the ovulatory phase before the menstrual phase. Even though your little one would be suckling on the nipple, if you feel like your breasts got tender and hurtful, this is a sign that ovulation has begun. Your breasts can also be tender due to breastfeeding, but if you notice other signs of ovulation in combination, it may indicate ovulation. In case you feel like they hurt too much or something is wrong, consult your doctor and let him know of your situation.
Why shouldn’t you Get Pregnant right after Your Childbirth?
If you want a bigger family and more children, you should go for it, but you are not advised to get pregnant right after the birth of your precious child. This is not recommended as it is a health risk for both the mother and the child.
Women who give birth by C-section, their bodies have suffered enough physical trauma to conceive another child. The body requires time to recover and generally talk. You are not advised to have another child 2 years to postpartum. In some cases, there can be complications, which can get so worse that they could be fatal to the mother or the child or both.
If you have a safe pregnancy even though you got pregnant before your child turned even one, it is good. Your children would get along well with the little age gap. Pregnancy right after your child’s birth is still not ideal.
Breast Feeding Exclusively:
For the first six months, ovulation can be avoided by exclusively breastfeeding your baby and keeping yourself dedicated to it. Although this might be difficult, some practices can help you reach the goal. These are described below:
- Start educating yourself about breastfeeding before the arrival of your little one. This will keep you prepared.
- After the birth of your baby, keep in touch with a lactation specialist for better advice, and you should not hesitate to share the details and ask for advice.
- Try not to use formula or water in your newborn’s diet and breastfeed them only.
- The more frequently you feed your baby, the better milk production will be. Whenever you feel like your baby is hungry, feed them as it would help with more production of milk.
- Since the production of prolactin is highest during the night, it is better to feed your baby during the night as that also would help in milk production.
- Try not to use bottles or pacifiers and stick to breastfeeding your baby. The baby’s suckling would stimulate the production of oxytocin in the body.
These given tips and tricks can help postpone resuming your menstrual cycle or periods.
If you’re looking for signs of pregnancy, we have explained the possible signs of pregnancy and how breastfeeding can act as birth control. It is still not reliable, so as soon as you start noticing the signs of ovulation, start tracking your cycle and pick out a reliable birth control.
You may also want to have more children, but as discussed, it is not recommended to have them so early, that too right after pregnancy, as it could result in a health risk and consequently a complication. Take care of your body and give it a break. That is for your and your child’s well-being. If you’re healthy, you will take better care of your child.