Contraceptive efficacy of lactational amenorrhea in urban Chilean women

S. Díaz, R. Aravena, H. Cárdenas, M. E. Casado, P. Miranda, V. Schiappacasse, H. B. Croxatto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The contraceptive efficacy of breastfeeding was assessed in 236 healthy urban women who were followed at monthly intervals during the first postpartum year. Proportional hazard models were used to evaluate the influence of time postpartum, menstrual status and breastfeeding pattern upon the risk of pregnancy. Time and menstrual status had a highly significant effect on this risk. Those women who remained in amenorrhea had cumulative probabilities of pregnancy of 0.9% and 17% at 6 and 12 months postpartum, respectively. In those who recovered menstrual cycles, the risk rose to 36% and 55% at 6 and 12 months, respectively. Milk supplementation also increased significantly the risk when considered alone but not when time and/or menstrual status were included in the analysis. However, amenorrheic women who introduced bottle feeding, had a higher risk of pregnancy after 6 months postpartum than those who remained fully nursing. The analysis was unable to detect a significant influence of the nursing frequency. The results confirm that lactational amenorrhea is an effective contraceptive during the first six months postpartum. The first postpartum bleeding marks a great increase in the risk of pregnancy. Supplementation also increases the risk, particularly in amenorrheic women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-352
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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