Contraception for Nursing Mothers

Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM)

A very effective, temporary method of contraception that is ideal for women who are committed to breastfeeding and desire a non-hormonal method. 
Effectiveness: 98% if the following criteria are met:
  • Full or nearly full breastfeeding
    • almost ALL nourishment is from breastfeeding
    • there are no long periods without breastfeeding
  • Menstrual period has not returned
  • Baby is 6 months old or less

Progestin-only “Mini-pill”

A birth control pill that contains progestin only instead of estrogen + progestin like traditional birth control pills. There are no known adverse effects of mini-pills on the nursing infant. Studies suggest that they may even increase milk volume. Mini-pills work mostly by creating thick cervical mucus that is difficult for sperm to penetrate; there is also some inhibition of ovulation. Mini-pills must be taken at the same time each day.
Effectiveness: in breastfeeding women, mini-pills are 99% effective.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

The Mirena IUD is a small progestin-containing device that is placed inside a woman’s uterus by her health care provider. It is effective for 5 years. It works by a combination of mechanisms including: thickening cervical mucus, changing the way sperm moves inside the uterus, thinning the uterine lining, and possibly by preventing ovulation. IUDs have no known effects on breast milk or nursing infants. In menstruating women, bleeding changes are likely including irregular spotting or a lack of menstrual bleeding.
Effectiveness: more than 99% effective

Tubal ligation

A surgical sterilization technique for women, commonly knows as “getting your tubes tied.” It is appropriate only for women who are sure that they do not desire any more pregnancies in their lifetime. This procedure closes the fallopian tubes, stops the egg from traveling to the uterus from the ovary, and prevents sperm from reaching the fallopian tube to fertilize an egg. In a tubal ligation, fallopian tubes are cut, burned, or blocked with rings, bands or clips.
Effectiveness: 99.5% effective

Barrier Methods

Diaphragm
A soft, flexible, dome-shaped rubber cup that is inserted by the woman into her vagina before intercourse. The diaphragm blocks access to the cervix so that sperm cannot pass into the uterus. Diaphragms are best for women who have intercourse less frequently, as the risk of unintended pregnancy increases with frequent (more than 3 times/week) intercourse.
Effectiveness: 80% effective
Condoms
Effectiveness: 85% effective. Using condoms with an additional spermicide product raises effectiveness into +90% range.