Ria wanted to come over to clear some doubts about her menstrual cycle. “Why don’t you have tea with me,” I offered.
Ria was under the impression that the menstrual cycle begins soon after the delivery. Which is partly true. Some women start menstruating as early as six weeks after delivery, but in some breastfeeding women, the cycle reappears as much as 18 months later.
Breastfeeding delays ovulation and acts as a natural contraceptive for feeding mothers. However, the mother is never aware about the time when she would start ovulating as different women respond differently to this phenomenon. One can never be sure how long the natural contraception triggered off by breastfeeding will last. Therefore, it is advisable to use other forms of contraception after delivery.
A breastfeeding mother can use contraceptive methods like insertion of intrauterine device (copperT), oral contraceptive pills or condoms according to her choice.
CopperT does not have any effect on lactation and can be used if it suits the mother. Alternatively, she could use low dose oral contraceptive pills available in the market. However, the long term effects of the ingestion of estrogen on the infant and the mother are not known for certain. Most women prefer to use condoms as it is the only contraceptive with no side effects whatsoever.