Natural Contraceptive Methods After Childbirth
The return of fertility after childbirth is complex and multifactorial, this is why Seréna Québec created a workshop specifically for this stage in life. There are different natural methods taught in the workshop because it is important to note that the act of breastfeeding itself is NOT a method of contraception.
LAM (Lactational amenorrhea method)
This method is based on the biological fact that the return of fertility after childbirth is delayed with exclusive on demand breastfeeding. There are 3 inclusive mandatory conditions that all have to be met in order to qualify for the LAM.
Exclusive on demand nursing day and night with a maximum interval of 4 hours during the day and 6 hours at night.
No vaginal bleeding after the 8th week postpartum.
Baby must be under 6 months old.
The LAM-PLUS allows for mothers who have breastfed in the past to use the LAM beyond 6 months postpartum if their return of fertility was delayed in their previous postpartum phases.
Certain conditions and guidelines to use the LAM+ are taught in the workshop. Risk of unplanned pregnancy in the LAM+ is higher than in LAM but still quite low.
Symptothermal Method While Breastfeeding
The STM while breastfeeding follows the same observations and documentation of the fertility signs as in the regular Symptothermal Method. The difference in the methods is the interpretation of the data to determine the phases of fertility and infertility before the first postpartum ovulation occurs.
After the bleeding that follows childbirth called lochia that typically lasts a few weeks, there is usually a period of no ovarian hormonal activity. There is thus no observable signs of fertility: no cervical mucus, no physical changes to the cervix and no elevation in the core basal body temperature.
This period of dormant ovarian activity is dependent on the woman herself, the quantity and quality of breastfeeding and the amount of time that has passed since the birth.
Eventually signs of possible fertility will arise and they may be continuous or intermittent.
Finally, the hormonal activity will return to normal and the regular fertility signs will be observable again in the mucus and cervix, and follow their typical pattern.
Documenting data is done on the charts specifically designed for the Symptothermal Method after childbirth.