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Can you get pregnant while breastfeeding?
Yes you can!
One of the questions my midwife asked me before I left hospital having just given birth, was "have you decided what form of contraception you're going to use?"
Her question rather took me by surprise, since having sex was very far from my mind at this particular time.
But this is a common question for healthcare providers to ask new mothers here in the UK (and probably in other countries too).
A common myth
Her reason for asking was that many people assume that you can't get pregnant soon after having a baby, especially if you're breastfeeding.
Although it is commonly believed that breastfeeding is a natural form of contraceptive, and that it is nature's way of ensuring that your babies are well-spaced out, this is not always the case. So it's very easy to fall pregnant again much sooner than you planned.
And two babies in little more than a year might be a little more than you bargained for!
Some Further Reading
Everybody's body is different, and even if you're breastfeeding frequently your period can return at any time.
I was still breastfeeding around the clock when my period came back after four months, which was a bit of a surprise. And I have friends whose periods returned even sooner than this.
Others, however, were breastfeeding for two years before they got a period, and some didn't re-start menstruating until they had stopped breastfeeding completely.
Remember, you are fertile before your period starts..
And it's not as if you can wait for the arrival of your period to signal that you're fertile again - as that first ovulation will occur two weeks before your first period.
So you will probably have no warning signs at all, and will never really know for sure - perhaps until it's too late and you're staring disbelievingly at a pink line on a pregnancy test!
So this makes breastfeeding a not-very-reliable-at-all form of contraceptive.
For me, starting my period after four months meant that I was fertile from just the third month after my baby was born.
Meaning that under different circumstances my daughter could possibly have had a very unexpected first birthday present!
Are You Pregnant?
- If you're within the first month of your pregnancy, or you think that you might be, you may want to see my hub on Very Early Pregnancy Symptoms.
If you had two babies close together:
Were you breastfeeding when you fell pregnant?
Some other answers to this question.
- is it possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding?
Listing of the answers to the question: is it possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding?i always thought it's not possible but now i hear from different people that it happens.. Does it only happen if you get your cycle while feeding?