- Likelihood of menses and ovulation is low
- Ovulation may occur prior to menses
- Luteal phase is frequently defective
Less than 2% have an adequate luteal
that results in pregnancy
Health providers may express concern that an intensively breastfeeding
woman can get pregnant before the return of first menses. However,
there are a number of reasons why pregnancy is not likely, especially
during the early postpartum period.
Researchers have discovered that the likelihood of the early
return of ovulation and/or menses is very low in postpartum
women who breastfeed intensively. However, some women who do
breastfeed intensively may have their menses return and/or ovulate
during the first months postpartum. And, in some of these cases,
ovulation may precede menses.
However, research has also shown that the luteal phase of these
initial cycles is often defective. A defective luteal phase
is characterized by progesterone production that is not sufficient
to prepare the uterus and sustain a pregnancy. Studies show
that less than two percent of women who breastfeed intensively
during the first several months postpartum experience an adequate
luteal phase that results in pregnancy.