Reproductive function during lactation

August 1, 2011

It is helpful to know that the elevation of prolactin, and the abrupt withdrawal of ovarian and gonadotrophin hormones after childbirth and during lactation may lead to decreased breast sensitivity during lovemaking, vaginal epithelium atrophy, dryness, and decreased cervical mucus as well. These changes may, in turn, lead to discomfort during sexual intercourse and increase dyspareunia. Locally applied lubricants are helpful, and these changes usually improve over time. These hormonal changes also produce a lactational amenorrhea, or a cessation of ovulation and menses. The length of this hiatus from the ovulatory cycle varies, lasting longer with exclusive breast-feeding. Consequently, a measure of conception protection occurs for the first few months; however, ovulation, menstruation, and regaining fertility become a reality with decreased lactation. Family planning, birth intervals, and a reliable method of contraception should be addressed in advance of starting to breast-feed.

SEE ALSO: Lactation, Pregnancy

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Category: Breast-Feeding