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Lactational Amenorrhea

Last updated date: 12th Jul 2024
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This is a term used when a woman is out of her menstrual cycle and breastfeeding the child. 

Amenorrhea, in general, is a health or medical condition that is caused due to the absence of a menstrual cycle. It can be in any condition. Ammennohrea can be simply defined as the temporary state of menopause or postnatal infertility.


At present, the population of the world is at alarming levels and because of an increase in the population, the world is facing a rapid depletion of its natural resources. To put a check on the population, the government has started awareness campaigns where they circulate information about the importance of healthy sex life. The main focus of such awareness campaigns is on birth control methods. The use of condoms and other intrauterine devices for avoiding pregnancy is already quite prevalent in society. Natural methods like lactational amenorrhea can also be used to avoid unwanted pregnancy. In this article, we will get to know what lactational amenorrhea is and about the use of the lactational amenorrhea method.

What is Lactational Amenorrhea?

Here in this passage, we need to define lactational amenorrhea and know exactly the meaning of lactational amenorrhea. Lactational amenorrhea is defined as postnatal infertility that occurs when a woman is not menstruating or is amenorrhea. At this time, she is fully into breastfeeding. It is also known as postpartum infertility. It is a period of temporary infertility. After parturition, this method is very effective for six months. When lactational amenorrhea takes place, the chances of conceiving are almost negligible. 

What is the Lactational Amenorrhea Method Used For?

Lactational amenorrhea method-Basically, it refers to breastfeeding as a method of birth control. Sometimes it is not very effective but still, it accounts for a reduction in the fertility ratio. Lactational amenorrhea is because, after parturition, the women don’t undergo the menstrual cycle so the chances of conception are reduced to a significant amount. It is a natural method of birth control and has no pills or medicines involved therefore there are no side effects. But that doesn’t mean that it is 100% secure. Sometimes there is a fluctuation in the flow of hormones and thus this method is not fully effective. The return of menstruation varies from woman to woman but roughly a six months window is considered till the menstruation returns. 

Lactational Amenorrhea Mechanism

When breastfeeding takes place, the ovarian or menstrual cycles are stopped. This is due to the pulsatile release of the Gonadotropin-releasing hormone. It is released from the hypothalamus and the luteinizing hormone is released from the pituitary gland. During the lactation period, the plasma concentration of the follicle-stimulating hormone is sufficient to trigger the growth of follicles when the reduced signals of LH results in the reduced amount of estradiol. When the amount of estradiol reaches normal levels, then the LH surge is prevented by lactation. Ovulation takes place only when the amount of lactation is declined in the body. Thus, this lactation is responsible for delaying the resumption of normal ovarian cycles. Hyperprolactinemia is a condition that is often associated with lactational amenorrhea. The prolactin levels are increased by the mechanical detection of suckling. This results in an increased amount of milk synthesis. This excess of prolactin thus inhibits the menstrual cycle and is therefore closely associated with lactational amenorrhea. 

Lactational Amenorrhea Method of Birth Control

There are certain suggestions and criteria which are needed to be followed by women to get above 90% effectiveness as birth control for the first six months in lactational amenorrhea. 

The Suggestions/Criteria to be Followed are as Follows:

  • The infant’s only source of nutrition should be breastfeeding only. Feeding solids to infants can reduce the effectiveness of lactational amenorrhea. 

  • There’s a period of breastfeeding that must be followed which is that the infant must breastfeed every four hours in the daytime and every six hours at night time. 

  • The age of the infant must not be more than six months. 

  • At the time of breastfeeding, the face of the baby must not be covered. 

  • By the Roman Catholic Church, it was considered a natural contraceptive method. Now everyone in the world follows it as a natural method of contraceptive.

Lactational Amenorrhea Cause 

Lactational amenorrhea is caused when the secretion of the Gonadotropin-releasing hormone is disrupted. The action of suckling reduces the GnRH secretion which further leads to the decrease in levels of LH hormone. 


Lactational amenorrhea is when the ovarian cycles are disrupted. It is not a necessary indicator of infertility. When the ovarian cycles return to normal then only full infecundity may occur or it can occur after the first menses. Lactational amenorrhea, through the course of evolution, has evolved as a method of health preservation for the mother. During the period of infecundity, the mother can focus all of her energy on breastfeeding. The period of infecundity is governed by the frequency and duration of breastfeeding. 

Hormonal Pathways and Neuroendocrine Control

During the lactational period, the suckling process leads to menopause. This is because Of a hormone called prolactin. With the increase of this particular prolactin, there is an increase in the amount of milk. Due to the excess of prolactin, the menstrual cycle pauses. It gives a suppressive effect in the ovaries, hence causing lactational amenorrhea. 

The Suckling Process

The suckling process highly stimulates amenorrhea. The intensity of suckling, the duration of suckling the bout or the amount of suckling in a particular period within 24 hours, there is no evidence that which of these affect the most amenorrhea. Many types of research and surveys have been done to know the proper reason for the suckling. It is found, it differs in places and results are not always the same. For instance, in the US, an experiment was carried out on a Scottish woman and she showed that 60 minutes of suckling per day sustain amenorrhea. While on the other hand, In Botswana and Ganj women in Papua and New Guinea, stated that, 3 min, 40 to 50 times per day leads to typical amenorrhea to two years postpartum. 

A basic study says that lactational amenorrhea exists for 6 months. But it differs in different women. 

Return of Fertility

After the lactational period, it is not necessary that a woman would start ovulating again. The breastfeeding process has a resemblance with the contraceptive measures. It is found that the longer a mother feeds her child the ammoniacal stage will increase. It is seen in many women that the stage continues to 2to 2.5 months or even 9 months also. If a woman is continuously breastfeeding without any diet outside of it then it would cause a long amenorrhea cycle. Similarly, If a woman is not breastfeeding or not breastfeeding at all, then the ovulation process is likely to start in a very short period. Proper nursing criteria is also involved for the following maintenance.

If a couple wants to get a gap of 18 to 30 months between their children, then they can easily use this contraceptive measure. But this is not a certain way and of course not an obvious way of Contraception because the menstrual cycle is unpredictable and it can return anytime.

Ecological Breastfeeding

Phase 1 of ecological breastfeeding are as follows: 

  • To maintain the good health of a child, a woman should breastfeed a child for 6 months exclusively. Any other kind of liquid or solid is highly prohibited, not even water.

  • Be passive, and make the child comfortable with your breasts. 

  • The use of bottles and pacifiers are also not advisable and it can harm a baby's health.

  • Sleep with your baby for night feeding.

  • For daily nap feeding, sleep with your baby.

  • Make a good routine to nurse your baby properly.

  • Stay with your baby. Avoid anything that drags you and your baby apart.

  • It is necessary to breastfeed the child at least  4 times a day and six times at night.

Advantages of Lactational Amenorrhea

Some of the basic advantages of lactational amenorrhea are enlisted:

  • These are available universally

  • These are very effective. The measure of effectiveness is up to 98% or more.

  • LAM methods begin immediately postpartum.

  • This method is highly beneficial for both child and mother.

  • No commodities or suppliers are required. This means that there are no other side effects. These are natural and safe.

  • A beneficial bridge to another contraceptive

  • The use of this method is very old and is used fully based on cultural and religious practices. 

  • This process is very beneficial to enhance breastfeeding. It also acts as a preventive to many diseases which includes cancer, anemia and osteoporosis for mothers.

  • It prevents the mother from taking contraceptive measures until the infant becomes mature enough.

In the past few decades, it has been a more reliable process and is highly used by women making it one of the best approaches to contraception with protection.


From the above passage, we can conclude that lactational amenorrhea is the time after the birth of a baby when the menstrual cycle of the mother is at a halt. This process is governed by hormones such as GnRH and LH hormones. As no menstrual cycle takes place, thus this method can be used as a natural contraceptive method. Certain criteria are to be followed to make it effective and those are mentioned above.

FAQs on Lactational Amenorrhea

1. For how long can lactational amenorrhea last? 

It generally lasts for around 6 months. To make this method more effective the baby must be fed with breast milk only for the maximum amount of time. 

2. How can lactational amenorrhea help in preventing pregnancy?

At the time of lactational amenorrhea, the process of ovulation does not take place thus no menstrual cycle and no fertilization. It is trusted to be a very good method of birth control.