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Breastfeeding is Not a Reliable Source of Contraception as Unplanned Pregnancies Increase

Update Date: Feb 22, 2013 01:56 PM EST
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One of the oldest beliefs that new mothers are told is that breastfeeding is an effective form of contraception and will prevent pregnancies. Unfortunately, this fact has very specific guidelines attached to it, and these guidelines that make breastfeeding effective are rarely discussed as more and more mothers unexpectedly get pregnant right after the birth of a child. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), which is a sexual health charity, released a statement advising mothers to avoid using breastfeeding as a form of contraception, and offer alternative and more successful options.

According to the BPAS, women entering their facilities complaining about unexpected pregnancies were told by general practitioners that breastfeeding is a form of contraceptive. Although that is technically true, breastfeeding can act as a great form of contraception, women are not told how to use breastfeeding as contraception correctly. Breastfeeding is only effective if it is being done at the same times every single day. Missing just one breastfeeding makes it significantly less effective as a contraceptive, which explains the numbers of unplanned pregnancies that occur during this fragile time period. 

"It is worrying to hear that some women are not receiving accurate information about the contraceptive cover provided by breastfeeding and that some are even receiving conflicting advice from different medical professionals about what contraception they can use whilst breastfeeding," A spokesperson with BPAS expressed her concerns over misinformation commonly exchanged between a woman and her doctor.

The charity organization also revealed that about 32 percent of women never had the conversation about safe contraception options while breastfeeding with their health professionals. The breastfeeding rate specifically in the United Kingdom has increased from 76 percent to 81 percent from 2005 to 2010. This statistic reinforces the importance of educating women about breastfeeding and proper contraceptive options. Since a new study reported huge benefits for breastfeeding, women and doctors should engage in more conversations regarding breastfeeding and contraception. The information passed along should also be consistent and helpful for mothers. There are ways to prevent pregnancies, and breastfeeding should not be the only available option. 

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