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A new contraceptive method: breast feeding

A new contraceptive method: breast feeding

Imbonezamuryango 9(27): 8-12

Even though women have known for centuries that breast feeding has a contraceptive effect, family planning agents have only recently promoted it. Family planning specialists at a meeting in Bellagio, Italy, on breast feeding developed directives referred to as the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM). Adherence to these directives assure effective protection against pregnancy until resumption of menstruation, expansion of infant feeding to foods other than breast milk, or until 6 months postpartum. Nipple stimulation during suckling is sufficient to suppress ovulation. Frequent suckling or more intense suckling maintains the contraceptive effect, so the directives insist that mothers exclusively or almost exclusively breast feed their infants. LAM provides 98% effective protection against pregnancy for 6 months if women observe it as directed. After 6 months, they should use another family planning method. Scientists are trying to see whether they can make the directives more simple. They will discuss this possibility at their next international meeting in 1993 or 1994. Research indicates that the most crucial rule is amenorrhea and use of this rule will make LAM more easy to learn and use, thereby increasing its use. It is difficult to motivate hospital and family planning clinic staff to promote LAM. Information and education are needed to support LAM. for example, a project in Honduras is using peer counseling to promote LAM. Family Health International is following 1000 women for 1 year postpartum in Pakistan and the Philippines. This study's 6-month LAM efficacy rate was around 95%. Little research has looked at the cost effectiveness of LAM. Optimally, LAM is a temporary contraceptive method which must be followed immediately by another contraceptive method. Indeed, LAM counseling should often pregnancy. LAM supporters do not intend for LAM to be a substitute for family planning, but want LAM to be another method in the contraceptive method mix.

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Accession: 045079717

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PMID: 12287361

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