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002 scienceoffertility

A look at how the Billings Ovulation Method® can be used to regulate fertility whilst breastfeeding and managing the return to regular ovulatory cycles.

Production of breast milk is controlled by the hormone prolactin which is produced in the anterior pituitary gland. During pregnancy the levels of prolactin rise 35-fold* over pre-pregnancy levels. Following birth the levels of prolactin begin to fall. The rate at which the prolactin falls relates to the frequency of suckling of the baby at the breast. If the baby suckles frequently, deriving all nourishment from the breast, prolactin levels will usually remain high. As the length of time between feeds increases and the amount of milk consumed decreases (as other foods are introduced) the levels of prolactin will fall, spiking up at each feed and dropping between feeds.

In many centres around the world where the Billings Ovulation Method® is taught, a majority of the couples presenting for instruction come for assistance in achieving a pregnancy. This was not so much the case in the past and is perhaps a measure of the rising infertility in the community, but also a recognition that natural methods of regulating fertility can be of great assistance in this regard.

The benefits to both mother and child which result from breast-feeding provide a good example of the wisdom of living in accordance with the laws of nature. The Billings Ovulation Method® is very appropriate for use during lactation because it provides for the recognition of infertility in the absence of ovulation – it is just as easy to recognize infertility as it is to recognize fertility, and to learn rules which can be applied in either circumstance.

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