The natural family planning--lactational amenorrhea method interface: observations from a prospective study of breastfeeding users of natural family planning

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Dec;165(6 Pt 2):2020-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(11)90572-9.


Methods of natural family planning are sometimes difficult for women to use during lactation. When this is so, the lactational amenorrhea method may prove useful. Researchers agree that a fully breastfeeding woman who is amenorrheic is 98% protected from pregnancy for up to 6 months after delivery. The fertility status of 74 users of natural family planning during the time they would have been protected by the lactational amenorrhea method is examined. Underlying hormonal profiles show that there was little ovarian activity during this time. Eight ovulatory events occurred during the period of protection by the lactational amenorrhea method, of which four fulfilled minimum criteria for adequacy; there were no pregnancies during this period. However, some women did report experiencing fertile mucus symptoms during this time that were often unrelated to estrogen production. Using the lactational amenorrhea method rather than natural family planning allows them to avoid unnecessary abstinence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amenorrhea / physiopathology*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Cervix Mucus / physiology
  • Family Planning Services / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation / physiology*
  • Ovulation / physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors