Q. Dear MD,
I’ve been breastfeeding exclusively for just over six months and my husband and I have recently begun having regular sex again. Do I need an additional form of contraception given that I’m still nursing up to five times per day? I thought I read somewhere that you can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding.
- The Milkmaid, Short Hills, NJ
A. “Yes, you can in fact get pregnant while breastfeeding,” says Dr. Shieva Ghofrany, an OB-GYN based in Stamford, CT. “The only way nursing works to stop pregnancy is if you breastfeed exclusively 24/7, and even then it doesn’t always suppress ovulation 100 percent. Traditionally you might think that you ovulate and then get a period. But that’s dangerous thinking. You can’t use lack of a period as a sign that you can’t get pregnant, because maybe you were about to get a period on your next cycle and then got pregnant. It’s not common but it’s definitely possible. Only use breastfeeding as birth control if you’re open to getting knocked up.”