What is Lactational Amenorrhea?

Lactational Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation in lactating mothers. It is a period of temporary infertility or postpartum infertility.

During the period of complete breastfeeding, the chances of conceiving are almost negligible. This has been found to be an effective method of contraception for a period of six months after parturition.

Key features of Lactational Amenorrhea

  • After parturition, breastfeeding delays the resumption of the ovarian cycle. Ovulation does not occur and so the menstrual cycle is also skipped.
  • Lactational amenorrhea is under neuroendocrine control.
  • Lactation causes disruption in the release of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from Hypothalamus, which in turn controls the release of FSH and (LH) from the anterior pituitary.
  • Lactation prevents the surge in the release of LH during the preovulatory stage and thus prevents ovulation.
  • Once the lactation is reduced significantly, the normal cycle resumes.
  • Lactational amenorrhea is an efficient tool to space births.

Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)

It refers to breastfeeding as a birth control method. Although it is not very reliable, it still accounts for a significant reduction in fertility.

After parturition, when the women are lactating intensely, they do not undergo the menstrual cycle so the chances of conception are almost nil.

The pros of this method are that it is a natural method and no medications or IUD have to be used for contraception. Hence there are no side effects. But there are high chances of failure too.

The prerequisite for LAM is that the mother should be exclusively breastfeeding, amenorrheic and the child should be below six months of age.

Return of menstruation varies from person to person. In breastfeeding women, menstruation within six months after childbirth is mostly anovulatory so the chances of fertility are minimum.

LAM should be replaced by any of the contraceptive methods afterwards e.g. IUDs or Oral pills, etc.

This was a brief note on Lactational Amenorrhea. Explore notes on Reproductive Health and other important concepts related to NEET, only at BYJU’S.

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