Amenorrhea is a medical condition that leads to the absence of a menstrual cycle. It is the temporary period of postnatal infertility or menopause. With the global population rising at alarming levels, natural birth control methods like lactational amenorrhea have become extremely popular.
Understanding Lactational Amenorrhea
To understand lactational amenorrhea meaning, you must know that it’s postnatal infertility when the woman is completely into breastfeeding. The birth control method is also referred to as postpartum infertility. During lactational amenorrhea, the chances of getting pregnant are almost negligible.
Lactational Amenorrhea Mechanism
The lactational amenorrhea method refers to birth control via breastfeeding. The method isn’t effective at all times, but it can considerably reduce the fertility ratio. After parturition, women don’t undergo their normal menstrual cycle and have a reduced chance of conception.
Since it is a natural birth control method with no medicines or pills, there are no associated ill effects. But the method isn’t always secure because there can be a fluctuation in hormonal flows. The method will work only when the child is less than six months old.
During the breastfeeding period, the menstrual cycles are at a halt due to the secretion of the Gonadotropin-releasing hormone. The hormone is released from the hypothalamus. The plasma concentration of the follicle-stimulator is adequate to start growing follicles.
A reduced signal of LH causes low amounts of estradiol in the body. As the estradiol level becomes normal, lactation helps prevent the increase in LH levels. Ovulation can only occur with a low amount of lactation in the body.
Therefore, lactation remains responsible for postponing the onset of the normal ovarian cycle. Hyperprolactinemia is often associated with lactational amenorrhea. It leads to the increase of prolactin due to suckling.
How Long Can Lactational Amenorrhea Last?
The return of the menstrual cycle differs from one woman to another. But usually, the lactation amenorrhea duration is six months. However, some women might start menstruating before or after the six-month period.
It is not necessary for mothers to start menstruating at the end of the lactation period. The longer a woman feeds her child, the ammoniacal stage will expand. The stage might continue up to 9 months in some women.
When mothers constantly nurse their children without any other diet, the amenorrhea cycle has a chance of lasting longer. If any woman is not nursing at all, the ovulation process will begin after a short time. The method is extremely beneficial when couples want a gap between 18 to 30 months between their children.
Infertility and Lactational Amenorrhea
Lactational amenorrhea disrupts ovarian cycles, but it’s not a sign of infertility. When the menstrual cycle becomes normal, full infertility might occur. Sometimes infertility also occurs after the first menstrual cycle following the lactational amenorrhea period.
The birth control method has become quite effective for preserving the health of mothers. During the infertile period, mothers can dedicate all their energy to breastfeeding. The period of infertility will depend on the duration and frequency of nursing. Click here to learn tips for falling asleep.
Hormonal Pathways and Neuroendocrine Control
Suckling during the lactational phase is responsible for causing menopause. The production of prolactin increases the amount of milk. It suppresses the ovaries and leads to lactational amenorrhea.
The Suckling Process
The suckling process triggers amenorrhea. The duration and intensity of suckling are determinants of the amenorrhea period. The amount of suckling during a specific period within 24 hours also influences the length of the period.
Factors to Remember for Lactational Amenorrhea
The factors that you must remember to enjoy the benefits of the lactational amenorrhea method are as follows:
- The infant should only feed on breast milk. They should get their primary source of nutrition from nursing. If you are feeding solids to your children, the efficiency of the birth control method will reduce.
- Mothers must remember to follow a particular schedule for breastfeeding to make the birth control method work. During the daytime, an infant should be breastfed every four hours. During the nighttime, a six-hour gap can be given between two breastfeeding sessions.
- Breastfeeding won’t work as an effective method of birth control for women with children above the age of six months.
- Mothers should not cover the face of the infants while breastfeeding them. The infant should be comfortable while suckling on the breasts.
Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
- Stay with your baby after birth to create a sense of closeness with the infant. Under no condition should your infant become habituated to staying apart from you. Always keep your baby in the same room as you. It will help you identify when the baby is hungry and the right time to feed them.
- The initial days after giving birth is the best time for you and your infant to learn to breastfeed. The breasts remain soft after birth. As the milk changes from nutritious colostrum to mature, the breasts become firm and full. Utilize the first few days to find the right position for breastfeeding. You should also work on getting the attachment right to avoid future issues during nursing.
- You shouldn’t lose your patience while breastfeeding your infant. It will be a new experience for both you and the child. Relaxation is essential for both the mother and the infant to get it right. Frustration or getting angry at yourself won’t help you with the process.
- Remember that if you give other food to your infants, they will breastfeed less. Stick to breastfeeding solely for six months of your infant’s age. The lesser you breastfeed your baby, the earlier you will start menstruating.
If you are trying to find a lactational amenorrhea reason, it’s due to the disruption of the Gonadotropin-releasing hormone production. Even though the method is meant for birth control, it might not always be successful. Lactational amenorrhea might fail as an effective contraceptive method because the menstrual cycle can return at any point.