A postpartum woman has at least 98%
protection from pregnancy for 6 months when she remains
amenorrheic and fully or nearly fully breastfeeds.
In August 1988, an international panel of experts met in Bellagio,
Italy to review existing data from around the world on breastfeeding
patterns and delay of postpartum fertility. The purpose of the
meeting was to create a set of guidelines for using breastfeeding
as a means of contraception. Three factors were considered to
be most accurate in predicting fertility. Using data collected
from 13 studies in eight countries, the Bellagio group came
to the following consensus:
A postpartum woman has at least 98 percent protection
from pregnancy for six months when she remains amenorrheic and
fully or nearly fully breastfeeds.
This description of the conditions under which breastfeeding
can be used as an effective method of family planning emphasizes
that breastfeeding alone does not prevent pregnancy. Rather
it is the period of lactational amenorrhea and the effective
breastfeeding practices that provide this protection.