Breastfeed Med. 2017 Nov 13. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2017.0046.

Knowledge and opinions of postpartum mothers about the lactational amenorrhea method: the Turkish experience

Özsoy S, Aksu H, Akdolun Balkaya N and Demirsoy Horta G


Objective: This study was performed to investigate mothers' opinions and knowledge about the contraceptive feature of breastfeeding.

Background: Breastfeeding is quite beneficial in terms of mother, baby, and public health. Although it has long been known to have a contraceptive effect and although it is common in many countries, women usually do not use it as a contraceptive method.

Materials and methods: This is a descriptive study and included 400 mothers in their early postpartum period. Data were collected with a questionnaire at face-to-face interviews within 3 days of giving birth. Obtained data were analyzed with descriptive statistics.

Results: One third of the mothers were primiparous and 66.5% of the mothers had breastfeeding experience. Of these, 38.9% of the mothers said that they received knowledge about the contraceptive effect of breastfeeding and 68.9% of these mothers received this knowledge from a nurse. Seventeen percent of the mothers receiving this knowledge reported that breastfeeding was a contraceptive and 1.8% of the mothers reported that it was sometimes contraceptive. Around 41.3% of the mothers thought that they would be able to use breastfeeding as a contraceptive method. Almost all the mothers wanted to get information about the contraceptive feature of breastfeeding.

Conclusion: As our research shows, four of every five mothers in their early postpartum period turned out to believe that breastfeeding was not contraceptive, although the mothers are very eager and ready for this information. Therefore, it is important that health professionals providing antenatal and postnatal counseling about breastfeeding and contraception should offer women accurate information about this method.

Comment: Breastfeeding CAN be a contraceptive in certain cases, but information must be reliable: if women want to use lactation as a contraceptive, they must know that it is effective, but only:

  • in the first six months' postpartum;
  • when the mother is still amenorrheic; and
  • when the woman is fully and exclusively breastfeeding.

In all other cases another contraceptive should be used. (HMV)