Actor Debina Bonnerjee recently announced her second pregnancy with husband Gurmeet Choudhary, four months after giving birth to a baby girl, Liana.
“Few decisions are divinely timed and nothing can change that… this is one such blessing… coming soon to complete us,” she wrote, sharing an endearing family picture with Gurmeet and their daughter.
While the comment section was soon inundated with good wishes for the parents-to-be, some wondered about the possibility of a second pregnancy during the lactation period. As such, when Debina hosted an ‘ask-me-anything’ session on Instagram, she was asked: “But pregnancy can’t happen during the lactation period till 6 months and your daughter is only 4 months old.”
The actor, clearing all the doubts, replied: “Correct! But if you aren’t lactating at all then? It can happen… Am I right doctors?”
Breastfeeding and women’s fertility
Experts explained that there is a direct link between breastfeeding and fertility. This is due to a condition called lactation amenorrhoea. “The strong biological/natural logic behind lactation amenorrhea method — LAM (breastfeeding and preventing pregnancy) is that the baby who’s exclusively thriving on mother’s milk day and night isn’t ready to share and the mother’s body isn’t ready to take another intense cycle,” said Kalai Selvi, Certified Lactation Care Counselor.
Thus, while exclusively breastfeeding, women will have lactation amenorrhoea that will prevent them from getting pregnant again, Dr Varini N, Senior Consultant – Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Milann Fertility and Birthing Hospital, Bangalore, added.
Calling it a “natural effect of breastfeeding“, Selvi shared that LAM will be 98 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy if the following criteria are met.
*Baby is less than six months old.
*Baby is exclusively breastfed (no other food should be given, including water).
*Menstrual cycles haven’t resumed.
Dr Varini added that this is not guaranteed contraception and, thus, it is advised to practise other contraceptive methods if not planning for pregnancy. “Some women resume their menstrual cycles soon after their delivery and some women might not get their menstrual cycles for long. Women who resume their cycles early have more chances of becoming pregnant.”
As we know, ovulation occurs 15 days before menstrual bleeding. So, a woman may not know she has ovulated and become pregnant even while breastfeeding, she explained.
Debina also opened up about her daughter being “completely on top feed” — referring to formula milk — as she is not lactating. “I am not ashamed of accepting that,” she said.
Explaining the reasons behind poor lactation in some women, the gynaecologist said it is multi-factorial physiology. “Failure to lactate enough could be due to poor nutrition, stress, lack of knowledge about foods producing more milk, certain medications and problems regarding breast and nipples like sore/cracked nipples, flat nipples and breast infections,” she said.
These factors change depending on the health history of each individual and their lifestyle, Selvi added.
As such, when there is a lactation failure, babies are given formula milk. “There is no exclusive breastfeeding. In these circumstances, women becoming pregnant is more likely,” Dr Varini said.